I found out, a couple of days ago, that someone I was briefly friends with a few years ago has terminal cancer. She was part of a wider group of friends that met each other all round about the same time when we moved in to our house roughly 4 years ago. Friendships have come and gone and one of our number has died but we all know how each other are through mutual friends and if the chips were down, we would all come back together for any hard times.
When I heard I was shocked. She has 2 young daughters and an adult autistic son as well as her husband. I can’t image what she’s going through at the moment just dealing with her illness let along dealing with how she’ll leave what she’s leaving behind. I have her number given to me by a mutual friend but how do I start the text? ‘Hi, I’m so sorry about what’s happening to you at the moment, fancy a coffee?’ I just don’t know what to write and that’s strange coming from me.
I go to thinking how would I deal with her awful situation; you do reflect on your family at times like this. What would I want to do if I were given a short amount of time to live the whole of the rest of my life? Would I want to do a bungy jump? Would I regret not climbing Everest? Would I be upset at never having walked the Inca trail or seen the Taj Mahal? Or would I regret the nitty gritty, minutia of everyday life? I’ve always wanted to dye my hair blond, just once. Would I miss not having the sun on back one last time lying in a meadow with the children running round excitedly giggling and feeling in that one moment I was truly happy.
It goes without saying that it would destroy me to know I wouldn’t see my sons as men, would never know their families and that I would become a distant memory trapped in a photograph on the wall. I would be remembered on birthdays and Christmas’s not for the happy times I was in their lives but remembered for all those I missed.
We live life not even considering what may happen tomorrow, next week, next year. We take for granted the way things are is the way the will always be but life does have a nasty habit of snatching stability, normality and happiness away just when you least expect it.
So I will text my friend of old and I think I will just be honest. ‘Hi, I am so sorry to hear what’s happening with you, I don’t know what to say and know that nothing I could say could make any difference to the bigger picture of life for you. But I know if you’d like to get together for a coffee at yours or mine I would love to see what I could do to make your morning better. Let me know…’