How do you say goodbye…?

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…’


About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
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3 Responses to How do you say goodbye…?

  1. Gina says:

    Thank you for being a friend to to your friend. As a person who has had cancer a few times and luckily am still surviving, sometimes all we need is to know we are still loved.

    • I have just sent the text and she’s replied and we’re going to meet up xx
      She’s also read this blog too…
      I am just amazed by her and always was (I texted her that too!) she’s a fantastic lady.

  2. Claire Lefevre says:

    I lost my Dad to cancer when I was 21, and my two brothers were 17 and 12. I met my husband 6 months later and within a year I had a little baby boy who came out the spitting image of my Dad. I would just like your friend to know that evn though he never met my little boy, Jack knows all about his Grandad Des and how lovely he was and talks about him almost everyday because I do.I think of him in everything I do, and not just at Christmas and birthdays and I am sure that her friends family will be the same. She will live on in their memories of, like you say, the little bits of everyday life that really mattered. Those little moments that can never be planned or recreated, but will always be remembered by her girls as the happiest times they shared with their mummy. She sounds like such a brave lady and I cant imagine what I would do I placed in the same situation, but I am sure having lovely friends like you aroudn her will make everything jsut a little bit better, i hope! xxxx

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