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.
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