Estranged College Friends Have Surprising Run-In Years Later

“I don’t have many regrets in life. But this was one of my biggest regrets.”
Catherine Yang August 3, 2018

Back in the 70s, Jeanne Mitchell was just starting college, and she was also going through some of the darkest years of her life.

But early in college, Jeanne also met Cyd, and the two became fast friends.

“It was a rough time in my life and she was just an incredible support and a wonderful, wonderful person,” Jeanne recalled.

She said Cyd was, and remains, one of the most kind and caring persons Jeanne knew, and she didn’t know how she would have made it through the years without her best friend’s support.

But after college, Jeanne got married. Her first husband did not like Cyd, and Cyd didn’t like her husband.

“I couldn’t stand the conflict,” Jeanne remembered. So she kept them apart, and then gradually lost touch with her best friend.

Jeanne eventually got divorced and tried to reconnect, but wasn’t able to renew the friendship.

“I don’t have many regrets in life,” Jeanne told Epoch Times. “But this was one of my biggest regrets.”

She blamed herself for having lost that friendship, so much so that she resolved never to let it happen again. Jeanne held fast to that promise, and she refused to let people in her life decide whether she should be friends with someone else ever again—and this was tested at times.

(Unsplash)

But it wasn’t until 40 years later that Jeanne had to face the issue head-on again.

Jeanne had remarried by then, and was living in Westchester, New York at the time. But on a trip to Washington DC, she was with a group of colleagues at a casual restaurant when she thought she saw a familiar face.

“So I creep around the room, and I see my friend who I haven’t seen since, oh, maybe ’74,” Jeanne said. She has very distinct features, she added, and it is not the kind of face you can easily forget.

Thinking it couldn’t hurt, Jeanne went up to her friend and they had a very brief conversation before she had to leave, but they managed to exchange phone numbers.

For a few years after that, nothing happened, and Jeanne was still a bit wary to push her friend too hard.

Jeanne wanted very much for her friend to remember her, but she was so afraid that the friendship would’t be the same, and the connection would no longer be there, that she almost thought it might be better to leave it as is.

But Jeanne said she was now practicing Falun Dafa, a meditation exercise that also teaches people to be mindful, and follow the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. One of the things this mindful practice had taught Jeanne was to cherish her relationships, and to nurture them.

Young Falun Gong practitioners attend a candlelight vigil. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

“On the one hand, I really wanted to connect with her, but on the other hand, I was afraid,” she said. Then her friend’s birthday came around, and, wanting to cherish her connections, Jeanne sent her a message thanking her for her support and friendship all those years back.

“Just to give you one example: We went to Goucher College in Maryland, and when I transferred to the University of Michigan, she offered to drive with me there—that’s a 10-12 hour drive. My parents couldn’t understand why she would do that, but that’s just the type of person she is,” Jeanne explained.

Her Facebook post eventually led to a phone call, which then led to the two friends meeting up again.

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Cyd ended up coming up to New York City to visit Jeanne, and while spending a whole day talking and getting to know each other once again, Jeanne was struck by how much they both still had in common—and what a compassionate person Cyd still was.

“She’s a music therapist,” Jeanne explained. “And we passed, maybe four or five musicians on our trip through the city, and each one, every time, she would give them money.”

“She really is about caring for people, and taking care of them,” Jeanne said. From a young age Cyd has been helping take care of her mother, who suffered mental illness, and her life’s work has been bringing healing through music and the arts to underprivileged youth. Her heart for people is even clearly evident in the music she writes, Jeanne added.

“I was just very happy to see her again, and she was very happy to see me,” Jeanne said.

If not for Jeanne’s mindful practice, which helped push her to cherish her relationships, she thinks perhaps she would have let the opportunity to reconnect with her friend slip away.

“It wasn’t like we just picked up where we left off,” Jeanne added. “It’s been such a long time, we’ve been so far, that we’re learning all over again.”

 

This article was originally published on The Epoch Times.