I looked at the picture... I turned it over to see what had been written on the back. The handwriting was neat and precise; easy to read. She had given me this wallet size copy of her high school senior picture forty six years ago; her senior year which had been my junior year. I had forgotten I had it. It was a bittersweet moment in seeing her image on the one side and reading the note on the backside.
She was gone. She died this past February. The last time I saw her was so long ago, just a few years after high school, and then nothing for over 40 years. Some things had happened back then. She had experienced a crushing loss. Then there was no contact. Now she was gone.
I did not realize way back then the footprint she had left in my life. We had worked together on the high school newspaper. We had been casual friends. I thought about that as I read the note she had written to me on the back of that picture. I realized, yes, she had been a casual friend, but she also had been a good friend to me.
She had a part in sharpening my mind; exposing some of my naivete and provincialism. In our own peculiar way we had affirmed one another's existence and worth at an awkward time in each of our lives.
I had thought about her over the years; wondering how she was doing; praying that where ever she was, that she would "live happily ever after."
Now she is gone. As I looked at the picture, I felt a grief and sadness. I don't know if she ever realized the impression for good she had left on my life. In a way, for that time we had known one another, she had been a friend; as a sister.
So as I mourn, I also ask myself a question.
What kind of footprints have I left in the lives of those I have encountered, even ever so briefly,through my life?