Old friends, holiday cards and missing the cue

Sometimes we get sucked into our own microsphere and get disengaged from friends. Not because we mean to but because life is full of nonsense stuff.

I moved back to my childhood town 17 years ago following a painful divorce. A friend from another state had moved here about a year before me. He was very supportive and helpful, loaning me things like scaffolding to paint and other useful tools. He would buy me pizza and tell me things would turn out ok. They did.

Eventually he married a lovely woman and I married a wonderful guy. We would exchange Christmas cards and get together a few times a year. We haven’t connected in the last couple of years but I bumped into him at the grocery store yesterday.

Never did I think the words, “how are you?” could spin into such a tale of misfortune!

I wasn’t concerned when I didn’t get a Christmas card from him in December because he wasn’t good about sending cards. Sometimes the card would come in March and was more of a catch-up than a holiday card. I can’t help feeling the omission should have triggered a response from me as it was my turn to plan and host a get-together.

As it turns out, his 14-year-old grandson died under suspicious circumstances. Then his wife was hospitalized with depression because of the loss. Ultimately, she suffered a heart attack in December accompanied by various surgeries to correct blockages and other issues.  She is recovering slowly…very slowly. She is close to my age — at most maybe a year or two older.

She was always a healthy eater and even ran a marathon a few years back but there are some bad things in her gene pool that put her at risk despite her healthy life style. We made a pact to get together in the May-June time frame hoping that her stamina would be better.

About three years ago my best friend from high school, who had moved out-of-state many years ago, missed a holiday card. She was dead in three months. I had no idea she was ill.

These experiences triggered me to review my holiday card list to see who else broke the tradition.  I should reach out before I read their name in the obituaries. Life is short.

Photo credits — holiday cards by tifotter and the grim reaper by irina :3, both from Flickr

17 thoughts on “Old friends, holiday cards and missing the cue

  1. The bit about your friend was so terribly sad 😦

    but yes sometimes… wait make that all the time… we tend to take things for granted.

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  2. I’m always planning to call or write or e-mail. As you said, we get involved in other “stuff” and never do what we were planning all along to eventually get to whenever this stuff and that stuff gets finished. Thank you for reminding us.

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  3. When I hadn’t heard from a friend of mine, I felt maybe she was too busy. Had I said or done something to upset her? Then another friend reassured me that our friend wanted to get together with us and just needed time to deal with a personal crisis. You’re right. You never know. Make the call. We all did get together recently and it was great catching up.

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  4. Oh my goodness! It must have broken your heart to meet your old friend and hear such a sad tale…just too much. I think you’re right, though, that life is short. We just lost a good friend ourselves, and it has me really feeling the need to circle the wagons…and that means doing just what you’re doing. Taking a little inventory and deciding how to create more space for some very intentional catching up with old friends. I hope the best for you and your discovery! Debra

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  5. So sad and so important. Staying connected has never been easier…it’s just about making sure we keep everyone we care about in our loop. This is truly a cautionary tale. Thanks.

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  6. That is a great reminder. It is so difficult to keep up with people and terrible when you find out what you need to catch up on once you see them again. Glad you rediscovered an old friend and hope his wife recovers soon.

    On a completely unrelated and somewhat random note, I really like what I have been reading on your blog and nominated you for the Sunshine Award. For more info, check out my post here: http://trishadm.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/pocketful-of-sunshine/.

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  7. Wow! This is such a good reminder. So many times we just assume that people are cutting back on expenses and just chose not to send. Not that we want to think the worst, but hey phone calls are free, so this a reminder to make the effort and inquire…not assume. I think we can all use this lesson in our busy lives. Thanks for the reminder…

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