I am horrible at staying in touch with old friends.
I mean, really terrible.
It's not that I don't want to stay in touch. It's just that life happens. Your days are full of so many things - being a wife and mommy, working, cooking dinner, getting the kids where they need to be - that you just run out of minutes in the day.
Why does it take something bad to bring you back together with those old friends?
My college roommate's brother unexpectedly died last week. He was only 31-years-old. His sister Janna is one of my dearest friends.
We were actually "thrown together" years ago. She was president of our sorority and I was vice-president, and sorority rules dictated that you must live together. So we moved into the same room in the sorority house, not really knowing each other that well.
That would all change.
Janna was studying to be - ironically - a Neonatal ICU nurse. I always felt guilty that she was constantly studying our senior year. My major of Telecommunication and Film wasn't quite as challenging and didn't require I keep my nose in the books.
Janna married her college sweetheart soon after we graduated and they settled in Birmingham. We were in each other's weddings. And when Ann Catherine was born, Janna was a wealth of knowledge for me. I'd constantly call her to tell her how AC was doing and would follow it up with, "What does that mean?" She answered all of my questions and even sent me a textbook-sized manual that truly answered every question you could have about a premature baby. I'm quite sure I drove her crazy sometimes :)
So I was crushed for my friend when I received the email that her brother had died. On Father's Day, no less.
A group of us - who were all in the sorority together - emailed each other and decided to meet at the funeral home for visitation. When Janna saw us she broke down, and we all hugged and cried. We stayed with her for the next couple of hours.
Later, the rest of us went out for dinner. We reconnected. "What ever happened to so and so? Where is she now?" peppered our conversation. And, oh my word, did we laugh. I mean, we laughed sometimes until we cried reliving some of those crazy college times. We talked about our lives. We all have children. Some work outside the home full time, some stay home full time and some do a little bit of both. And the biggest laugh of the night came when the one most likely to NOT drive a minivan pulled up in one. I just about died. She was the last person I ever expected to have a minivan. But here she was. And we all laughed about it.
We finally broke it up around 9:30 because Dana and I had a two hour drive ahead of us. So we went to our cars and then we stood outside and talked for another thirty minutes. And we promised that we would get away - with Janna - before the summer is over.
I absolutely can't wait for that.
It broke my heart that something as sad as my friend's brother's death had brought us all back together. You wish it didn't take a tragedy to help you reconnect. But sometimes that's how life works.
And during those times, you soak it all in - the laughs, the tears and the memories. Because you never know when you'll be back together again.