When A Former Friend Is Dying

What do you do when people inexplicably drop out of your world then years later you learn they are sick or preparing to transition?

Last night I received the sad news that an old friend is living her last days. It was a strange situation-that friendship. She and I had been very close years ago during my marriage to her nephew.

She and I were very good friends. I used to go visit her even though my in-laws lived just two blocks from her. We were close-until the divorce.

Sometimes weird things happen in divorce. For me, when I love someone, especially when I tell them I love them, I mean it. I feel it. No conditions or circumstances change how I feel.

When my ex-husband and I decided it was time to go our separate ways I thought my relationships with his family (and especially with this aunt) still mattered. I know I still held them in my heart.

I’d seen other friends who stayed close to former in-laws and saw no reason not to.

But that was not the case. When I called my former in-laws to say hi they were noticeably uncomfortable to the point thy asked my ex-husband to tell me to stop contacting them.

Boy was I puzzled.

Well, Not everyone is like me and just maybe for some people the thing they call love is not love because love is ALWAYS unconditional. No circumstance turns off love.

I never expected the divorce to end the relationship with my friend-but it did.

Here is what is even more puzzling to me…

When my ex-in-laws were sick and obviously living their last weeks I contacted them despite their having asked that I not do so. AND I learned they very much appreciated my contact.

Same thing happened last night.

My son called to tell me his aunt is transitioning and that she asked about me. Shocker! Been nearly 9 years since my divorce, since the last time we talked.

I called her immediately. It took a few minutes for her to figure out who I was. I know she is in pain and on drugs for that pain so I understood the fuzziness. She sounded weak too.

Here is what made a difference for me-the minute she recognized who I was she switched into higher energy and was present with me. She remembered experiences we shared and told me she was grateful I called.

She wished me a great future life. I didn’t say goodbye. I told her to take care.

What did I learn? People are different. People have different definitions of love. But that one I already knew. Sometimes remembering what we already know saves us heartache and pain.

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Richard J . Watson

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