Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Death Etiquette

I lived in Melbourne 10 years ago for a year. It was mostly a good year and I had some great friends down there.

I received a call last night from one of those friends to tell me another had died suddenly last week.

The news reminded me that there are many of my friends I have lost touch with over time that I should have made more effort to maintain basic contact with.

I am a shocker - I mean to do Christmas cards every year - sometimes I get around to doing a few but never enough. I have a folder of "I must reply to" emails that is so huge now - and many are over a year old...

I used to be a habitual "form letter update" to my far-flung friends, then it was "form email update" - both have petered out.

I tell some about my blog, but really this is neither a journal of the minutae of my life nor a true individual communication, rather a mirror or telescope into little aspects.

It seems like I am paring off the feeling part of me that I used to put into my friendships, and I realise now that it REALLY sucks.

I have HAD so many friends through my life. I have moved many times, and sometimes I have kept the contact, other times faded away.

It takes a wake up call like this to make me realise that my friends (and I am lucky, as I have family members who are also my friends) deserve a little more from me...

Jo was many things and will be missed greatly by her family and her friends. I do miss her too - but I also miss that, apart from sporadic contact, I missed so much of her when she was alive and I wish I could have told her.

So I am making an effort to rectify this with other friends, starting today...

Of course, I immediately stumbled, as I called the friend who had originally introduced us to comiserate with her - and she had not been told.

What is the etiquette there? And why do I feel so crappy that I was the one to have to tell her?

Whistling in the wind here - be back and hopefully less naval-oriented then.

5 comments:

Brissiemum2 said...

It just goes to show how fickle life is, too....we tend to take it for granted but it can be so easily lost. But take heart, I'm sure that most of us could say exactly the same thing. That is why there is a saying of sorts about how some people come in your life for a short time but others stay. Interesting. Oh, and I used to think that I needed to take more time (like I have it!) to keep in touch with friends, but it does worth both ways, I guess. We are just all so darn busy - that is the problem.

Mama Zen said...

I've done the same thing over the years. People do seem to just move in and out of our lives.

It sucks that you ended up being the one to break the news to your other friend. That's a horrible enough task without walking into it by surprise!

the Brave said...

I agree, it does suck that you were the one to break the news, but how were you to have known she didn't know and now that friend knows too, you thought of her and you rang. Through her shock and grief, she must be thankful that you took the time and thought to call.

Oh, The Joys said...

I'm sorry for the slow loss and then the quick one too.

Cathy said...

Thank you for posting this. I've allowed the same thing to happen in my friendships. Time for me to make some changes too.

I'm sorry for this recent loss.