Yesterday, I got the chance to go the religious services for my old friend Sukhpal where I got a chance to see others I had not seen in decades. I couldn’t help but think of the times we had together. My first group of real friends who I saw pretty much on a weekly basis. He supported me in so many ways from when I threw my first house party at my Long Beach house to coming to the events I promoted when I graduated from college.

We’d met at Sikh camp, and they were first non high school friends I had. I felt seen, popular even because suddenly from being a loner I had two groups of friends. I never could believe it. Yet somewhere our group dissipated, life happened as some got married, others stayed in further places and I went on a different path. Yesterday, I wondered what would have happened if I had stayed in touch. At least, I could have reached out and supported my friend in some way, visited him, see if there was a way I could be of service instead of finding out about his funeral a few days ago, not even aware that he had been sick for years.

Yesterday as I saw the others, again and again, I wondered what happened? It was a slow drift. There was no disagreement, no animosity, in fact, there was pure joy when we saw each other, and I just felt I’d taken a longer detour that moved me away from those who gave me so much when I was younger. When I needed it, they gave me a sense of myself, of who I could be. I remember Sukhpal and I and others just glad to see each other, so much to talk about, to laugh, share what was going on. And now, he too is gone.

My mom said something that stung a bit. More and more, I go to religious gatherings because someone has passed. That’s a sobering thought. It’s painful to realize that as I reach 50, it is very likely that those around me will pass and so will I. It forces me to reevaluate what kind of life do I want to live. Do I want to pass the time, or have time pass me, or do truly just be present and be grateful.

Only time will tell. I love you, Sukhpal. I am sorry I wasn’t there through your pain. I know you are at peace now.

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