Me as a Friend

I’ve lost track of a number of people over the years – at first because I was a child growing up in an Air Force family, attending numerous schools, and not really understanding the importance of connections. When I became an adult, people moved through my life, and I had varying reactions to their appearance and/or disappearance.

But there have been two people I’m feeling sad about this morning. After my first few Biscuit McKee Mysteries were published, I met Melinda Cowan at a meeting of the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Association. Melinda and her husband owned Cowan’s Book Nook in Ellijay, Georgia, and she eventually invited me to drive up to the North Georgia mountains to sign books at her store.

We developed a delightful friendship. The Book Nook was such a wonderful place. Melinda and her staff were knowledgable about all the books they carried, and they hosted my book launches and signings–I did a lot of signings there–with grace and verve.  When they opened a second store in Blue Ridge I added that one to my list of favorite places to sign books.

I felt devastated when I found out that they had to close the Ellijay store and, not too long thereafter, the one in Blue Ridge as well. Melinda’s email address was through the store’s website. My emails to her bounced back as undeliverable. Her phone was the store’s phone number; she was unreachable.

The second friend I lost contact with was Patricia Schaefer, an educator with the Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services. Again, her email and phone were through the department. Although we’d had a great working relationship throughout the time I volunteered at GCFES, once she took another job, those both became unusable. Patti and her family attended Gwinnett Choral Guild concerts when I sang in them; we laughed together; we were on a hugging basis. And then she was gone.

Now, I understand that people’s work info changes. I get that. But what I don’t understand is why, with all the ways to contact me, they’ve dropped completely out of my life. They both had my home email address. They both could send me a Facebook message through my author page. They both had my phone number.

And I’ve gotten to wondering What does this say about me as a friend? What message does it give me about the value of my friendship?

Have you ever lost someone like this? Do you even know why?