Shelly Hickman

Ramblings and Whatnot

Long Lost Friends


This morning I was texting my friend of many years, and she was telling me about this great experience she had with a man she met at a bar. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not referring to what we normally think of when a woman talks about a man she met in a bar. This was nothing like that. She and her mother and sister took a day trip to the historical Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada, where my friend started talking to this man several years her senior. She told me how they just sort of clicked, and they discussed all sorts of things about life. She felt like he was a kindred spirit, their interaction leaving her uplifted. He even shared the same name as her father, whose mind has now been stolen by Alzheimer’s.

I think it’s significant that experiences like these can leave such an impression on us. They don’t happen often, but when they do, they’re reminders that we’re all sort of connected, something that’s easy to forget in our crazy and stressful world. Many of our interactions with others in our day to day lives are superficial, guarded, and sometimes even hostile.

It started me thinking about a similar experience I had. It was with someone I already knew, but not very well. When my daughter was seven, she was in her second relapse with leukemia, and we travelled to Minnesota so that she could participate in a clinical trial. We stayed in a Ronald McDonald House with several other families, one couple whom we already knew from Las Vegas. Their teenage son’s options had also been exhausted, and they were visiting the same clinic for treatments.

I don’t remember how it came about, but I needed to get to a pharmacy for a prescription for my daughter, and we didn’t have a vehicle yet. My parents were in the process of making the long drive from Las Vegas to Minneapolis to bring our car to us. The father of the teenage boy, I’ll call him John, offered to take me to the pharmacy since they had a vehicle.

Neither of us was familiar with the area, but you wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to find a pharmacy. However, it seemed like we drove around at least twenty minutes before we finally located one. I was already so grateful that he was willing to do all that driving just to help me out. Afterwards, we stopped at a diner to eat.

I’ve forgotten the exact details of our conversation that night, but I will never forget the evening I spent a few hours with someone I barely knew, sharing our fears, frustrations, and agonies of having a child with cancer. We talked about our beliefs, and what this nightmare had done to them. We discussed the challenges of staying positive for our children. During that meal, it was almost as if everything else fell away, and we were just two weary souls sharing our pain, taking comfort in the fact that the other knew exactly where we were coming from.

John’s son passed away on his sixteenth birthday, later that month. Cancer stole my daughter seven months later.

I was saddened to learn that John died a couple of years ago. Despite the heartbreaking time our kinship took place, I will forever remember that night. It was an encounter of openness and true understanding, and I consider it one of the biggest gifts of my life. I think that’s why we treasure such moments; it’s then we’re reminded we really aren’t alone. It’s easy to fall into the belief that we’re all separate, but everyday we’re surrounded by those who share the same joys, fears, celebrations, and loss.

It sounds a little corny, but when I look back on that night, I feel like John was a long lost friend sent to me at a time I needed one most.

I hope I was the same for him.

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16 responses to “Long Lost Friends”

  1. Beautiful. Like angels among us, some strangers we never meet again.


  2. Shelly Hickman Avatar
    Shelly Hickman

    Exactly, Shije. ♥


  3. This was so moving, Shelly. I always learn from the beautiful way you see things. Moments like these in life are priceless. Thanks for sharing this.


  4. Thanks, Patricia. It is pretty special when such moments drop in on us. I say we take them when we can get them. 🙂


  5. Beautifully written. I do think angels come to us in the form of humans who are there at just the right moment. It happened to me when my husband died. Thank you for sharing this. It reminds me to be open and giving more myself.


    1. Thank you, Barbara. I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband, but glad to hear you had a similar experience when you needed it. ♥


  6. Not corny at all, Shelly! I truly believe that God sends us the people we need exactly when we need them. It’s happened too many times in my life for me to chalk every single one of those experiences to coincidence or happenstance. Thanks for sharing this moving story and for reminding us that we’re not alone in our journeys.


  7. Meredith Schorr Avatar
    Meredith Schorr

    This post gave me the goosebumps. It happens rarely (like you said), but those moments of connection are so important, blessed, and memorable. I’m glad you had one with John at a time you so badly needed one.


  8. Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie Avatar
    Julie Valerie @Julie_Valerie

    I’m speechless. Such an amazing encounter. Clearly, one that had God’s hand in it. Beautiful.


  9. Jackie Bouchard Avatar
    Jackie Bouchard

    What a beautiful post, and I don’t think it’s corny at all. I truly believe that people come into our lives when we need them, whether it’s for an hour, a day, or years and years.


  10. I think it’s a beautiful story.


  11. Oh, Shelly, oh honey, what a beautiful post. I especially love this part: “During that meal, it was almost as if everything else fell away, and we were just two weary souls sharing our pain, taking comfort in the fact that the other knew exactly where we were coming from.” Wow, I almost got chills reading that, it’s so lovely and true and honest and real.
    Thanks so much for sharing, and big, big writerly hugs.


  12. Sorry it took so long to respond. It’s been a busy day! Thanks for sharing your comments, ladies. Wishing each of you a long lost friend to drop into your life at a time you need it most. Those moments truly are blessings. ♥


  13. That is such an amazingly beautiful story and am so sorry about your daughter… It’s true that sometimes special people pass through our lives for just a moment, but stay with us forever.


    1. Thank you, Cassandra. And yes, though the details are now fuzzy, that night will stay with me forever.


  14. What a goosebump inducing tale Shelly. You are so right. Sometimes people come into our lives just when we need them to.


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About Me

Las Vegas native, Computer Science teacher, and writer (when the mood strikes). Author of five novels – mostly romantic comedies – available on Amazon and Audible.


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