Missing Alex

Was reminded this week of one of the many reasons why need each other and the blessing of friendship.

dillon’s daffodil

Friends speak truth into my life. Truth that may be obvious to everyone except me. Truth that frees me indeed.

Alex was that kind of friend. I remember the first time I saw him in my old neighborhood. A cheerful, elderly gentleman walking his dog Bo.

He reached out. Always had time to speak and to care. Left anyone he met along the way with a kind, “God bless!”

Alex refused to talk politics or religion with me. The fall we met nearly 10 years ago, I was knee-deep in a rigorous study of the Old Testament history of Israel. Alex was Jewish, and I was dying to dish with him. But he wouldn’t have it. Didn’t want anything to risk a rift between neighbors.

Fast forward to the next fall. After years of infertility, my husband and I were thrilled by the birth of our son. Then colic put a quick damper on our joy for the beginning months.

By spring, the colic was over and all was well again. I was out with the baby one day when Alex came by with Bo. He stopped and talked with me in my yard among the daffodils and hyacinths.

I told him about the discouraging experience of dealing with a colicky baby. How my son cried and cried. How there was no way to comfort him. How I felt like a bad mom.

“It’s sad for you after waiting so long for a child,” said Alex, “to lose the first months with him to colic.” His wise eyes soft with empathy.

No one had said that to me until then, at least not in a way I could hear it. No one had tapped into the emotion of the experience and spoken the truth of it. Colic is sad, even devastating. For the baby, yes. But also for the parents. Also for me.

The content and care of his words was powerful. Alex called out what happened. Gave me permission to feel the pain. Freed me to move on.

Other friends—new and old, close and far—have done this throughout the years and even this week in matters big and small. Probably without realizing it.

Out of nowhere comes that lightning bolt sentence. That straight shot of truth.

It was legalism. You were hurt in ministry by legalism.

Look at the color! It’s perfect! I love that cranberry.

I cannot imagine losing my mother at 25 (or ever).

Alex died the April following my son’s first birthday. I still miss him, especially as spring approaches. How could I not miss my friend?

There are “friends” who destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 NLT

If you do nothing else today, listen to this song. Then go hug a friend. Or send them a link to this post. Click to hear Sara Groves, Every Minute.

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11 Comments

Filed under family & friends, life

11 Responses to Missing Alex

  1. Joy

    Fantastic post, Aimee. It touched my heart deeply, I miss some of my loved ones too. Thanks for this today.

  2. Beautiful tribute to your friend. I felt like I knew him too from your writing. You just don’t forget people like that, do you?

  3. Thank you for the tribute. I have always believed that during life we collect friendships and though they may end for various reasons those experiences will last through our memories of them.

  4. Beautiful tribute, Aimee! It is some sort of a wonder that somehow when you need it the most, there’s an old man who walks his dog across the neighborhood, or a lady who opens a teddy bear shop around the corner, and they just give you that one little drop of wisdom you need so badly. I can only think it’s God’s way of letting you know he still hears you – by sending around someone to convey the words for you.

  5. Amy

    I have a very good, thoughtful friend like that. She processes what I tell her and always comes back at me with something that makes me not only feel heard, but deeply understood. I love her. I’m sorry you are missing your friend…sounds like there are others who will help along the way though…

    • Amy, I too often take for granted the many caring and thoughtful people in my life. Living far away from family and most of our friends now, it’s striking to me that the bonds of friendship hold. And that God provides new friendships too. Remembering to be thankful for that today.

  6. Pingback: The Politics of Friendship | everyday epistle