It was a long week last week.
It is, or should I say she is, still haunting me today. As we go through life there are people and times that stand out with memories that we hold, but don’t realize they can become just memories in a moment. This is what being a human is about; love, loss. This was my first loss of a friend I was close to as a child and through the beginning of my adult life. I should feel fortunate that I’ve lost only a few contemporaries in my 57 years. But each one leaves a mark. Our lives crossed in and out of each other over the years. We were in the out stage of our lives- always busy, too much living to find time to come together. Connected by the internet (thankfully) so we knew at least the surface of what our families were doing.
Having a medically fragile member of the family, you miss out on a lot of things. Because you have to. I’ve been told numerous times “you have a choice.” And maybe I do. But the consequences of the other choice is not something that I want to live with, the results most likely to be life-threatening. So no, I don’t feel like I have a choice. As I age, I feel those missed opportunities more profoundly.
Clearly, I’m one of those people that “puts it out there.” She didn’t. While I’m sure her inner circle knew of the cancer struggle, I was not aware. Many people have a tendency to think that I cannot take on one more thing, that I don’t need one more thing to worry about. But here’s the thing. I missed out on an opportunity to tell her just one more time that I love her. Would it have made a difference to her to know that I was there in spirit, helping her to fight this losing battle? I’ll never know.
I do know that when you are entrenched with worries and issues and doctor appointments and therapies and all the trappings of a chronic illness, you focus on what needs to be done- take care of you, take care of yours. I totally get that. This is where all the technology comes in handy for people like me. Put it out there- others will let others know. And in most cases, that is a good thing.
Sometimes I think there is an unwritten rule to not let others in on the bad stuff. I gave up on that rule a long time ago, and yet my previous post on depression, “Out of the Darkness,” shows that I too, still suffer from keeping others away from the darkness. Nobody wants to hear of your dark side. But I do. And I believe others do too. By sharing you find some light, maybe even some humor to keep on keeping on. Or at least be there for the end. No regrets.
I so miss you, Julie. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you during this journey and especially at the end.
Please, I implore those of you who wish to keep your struggles quiet: Let the light in. Let your friends in. Old and new. Do not do this in silence. You will see the strength of others, the struggles of others, and their willingness to help you on this journey. Some will not be able to climb aboard, for personal reasons and out of fear. But those that do come along will hopefully make this journey a little less bumpy, and fill it with love, light and laughter.
And I will miss that laughter of yours, my sweet friend.
“We’re all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass