Do you remember when you though 60 years old was OLD? Perhaps you still do. About the time I hit 30, any age under 85 seemed too young to die for me. I don’t know what that is, a whole heck of a lot of people don’t live into their 80s. That’s just they way I think now for some reason.
When I was in sixth grade I met my life friends, Mary and Chriss – or as most people call her, Chrissy or Christina…she’s always been Chriss to me. We’ve gone months without talking due to kids, jobs, spouses…life. But we have always been there for each other, through thick and thin. Then, in 2005, Mary passed away. Very suddenly, very unexpectedly.
The previous year, my dad had died. His death wasn’t sudden or unexpected, he had been sick since childhood. But he was a few months shy of his 56th birthday and that is so very young.
Mary’s dad had passed away when she was just a toddler. We never met him, Chriss and I. She had a step-dad that we knew well. He was also very sick the last few years of his life, he passed away a month before Mary…her poor mom. She lost a husband and her youngest child back to back. I cannot even imagine what she went through or how she got through it all. Although I never knew her step-dad’s age, he couldn’t have been over 60. Again, too young.
Mary’s mom has cancer. Very aggressive cancer. I haven’t seen her in years. She used to live around the corner from me, in fact she still owns that house, but she lives about 30 minutes away now. I see Facebook posts from Mary’s sister about treatments and prayers. I pray and send positive energy their way every day. I tell them to let me know if they need anything. I say the words. I mean them from the bottom of my heart. They don’t ask, I don’t pursue. I often feel guilty about that. Other times I think, if they’re not asking, I don’t want to impose and get in the way.
As you know, my boys are pretty much grown. Mary never got married or had kids of her own. Chriss took a bit longer than me to find her Prince Charming. (Not many stay with their high school sweetheart and get married at 18 like I did.) Her kids are much younger than mine. Her daughter is three, her son just turned one a few months ago. She’s got her hands full, she’s busy, I’m busy.
Last time I talked to Chriss on the phone was when she called to tell me about Mary’s mom. So when my phone rang after 10pm a couple of nights ago and I saw it was her, I feared the worse. But it was worse than I expected. As terrible as it will be if Mary’s mom loses her battle with cancer, her family and friends are slowly steeling themselves for that news. But it’s not her time yet.
Chriss’ dad, only 60 years old, had a heart attack and didn’t make it. Only 60! My heart just breaks for Chriss and her mom and her sisters. I know what they are all going through, to a certain extent, and feel helpless.
Of course I made all the gestures…what do they need? How can I help? Again, I’m not taken up on the offer and that’s fine. They need to be together. They need to do things their way. But I can’t help feeling useless and guilty.
I would love to at least send a meal to them, but Chriss lives about 30 minutes away and I’m sure she hasn’t been home. What is really terrible is that her parents moved, I found that out about a month ago through Facebook, and I don’t know where they live now. I know it’s not far, I know it’s somewhere feasible for me to drop a meal off at the house. I just don’t know where.
Last night I sent a message to Chriss and her two sisters. I reiterated that I’m here for anything they need and listed some options – cooking, cleaning, picking up dry cleaning, making phone calls. I told them I don’t want to get in their way and just wanted to make sure they know I was 100% serious with my offer and I can be called day or night. I left it at that. Again, so as not to impose.
So here I am, with a heavy heart and feeling guilty. Thinking of all of our loved ones that have moved on from this world. Praying for Chriss and her family as best I know how. I was uploading the pictures I took while on a walk at my husband’s work picnic and the beauty that this world is made of made me feel better. I know that they are all watching over us and that they are happy when we can find that ray of sunshine in the dark.