At best, during high school, Nancy and I were casual friends. She was a cheerleader and hung with her group, and I tried to be a jock and hung with mine. One of my biggest victories in high school came at her expense. We ran against each other for senior class vice president and I won. I was riding a wave of popularity from my role in the junior class play, otherwise Nancy would have probably prevailed. But at the end of the senior year, we graduated and would not be in communication for almost 36 years.
Then came all my "new friends" on Facebook and as many of us were working to get a reunion together this past summer, Scott, one of my classmates from West Virginia, informed me that Nancy's husband had passed away. I immediately put a message on the reunion page on FB to pray for Nancy. She then accepted my friend request and would have been at the reunion, but was in Ohio earlier that month for a wedding and had to be back in Alaska for her job.
Another one of my friends, Rex, was at the reunion. Rex was an equipment manager on the football team and tried to encourage me at times. His older brother, Jeff was, and still is, a classic good guy who took a liking to my younger brother while in school. But back to Rex. He had spent quite a bit of his time in the past few years taking care of his wife as she had been ill for quite some time. He was able to attend our reunion this past July and we even sang Happy Birthday to him. His wife ended her battle a few weeks ago with Rex, their son, and Rex's parents at her side.
Another friend I would like to mention is actually a distant relative. We originally met because we share the same name, Cliff Feightner. I first met Cliff and his wife Lynn in 1990. He was a manager at Goodyear, and I was a salesman at an appliance store. I was told about him and he about me. Cliff then searched me out. Several years later, we started contacting each other by email, which resulted in him coming to one of my family reunions. Lynn brought a chocolate cake and it was delicious. We have kept in contact over the past few years, now mainly by FB. Cliff will also be spending this Christmas without his life mate, as Lynn passed away this year. I'm sure his sons, Chip and Eric, will be there for him this year, but there will be some emptiness.
I'm sure there are many other stories of people who will spend their first holiday season without their partners. I just want to encourage you to reach out and touch those who need a friend this season. It will make a difference.