My mother is visiting for a couple of weeks. A couple of days ago, she decided to try to connect with an old friend in New York. She knew that this friend had been in the hospital with untreatable cancer, so she wanted to phone the family to find out how things were going. Sadly, on that phone call, she was told that her friend had passed a few days earlier. I could hear the shock in her voice.
What is it about death that is always so shocking? Even when someone has been ill and we know they can’t be healed or treated, the finality of death is always very numbing. One day, you are speaking to someone… there’s a real, living human being. And the next day, just like that, life is gone. I suppose for someone like me who doesn’t believe in the after-life, it’s especially stark.
That evening, my mother’s heart was heavy. When she had phoned, the family had just returned from the cemetery – emotions were still raw. She felt sad that she hadn’t seen this friend in over ten years; it’s not so easy to travel in your eighties! I was trying to imagine what it would be like to phone a friend one day, only to find out (s)he had passed away. I have been fortunate enough to not yet have lost a close peer, but the time is not that far away when I will be reading death notices to watch for people I might know – now that’s morbid!
I suppose it’s yet another reminder to keep up relationships. Take the time now; later might be too late.