On Christmas morning, my parents joined us for breakfast and present opening. As we sat at the table my mom asked if we had any New Year’s resolutions.
Like most people, my answer was mundane and normal.
“To procrastinate less,” I told her, smacking my husband on the arm when he scoffed. I am the queen of procrastination, after all. If I started to be productive, who ever would take my place?
At the time, I was mostly discussing procrastination with school work and house chores.
Later that night, the necessity to stop procrastinating became even more clear. I found out that a close family friend, a woman whom I grew up to think of like a second mother, had passed away early Christmas morning. I felt numb at the news, and heartbroken for her daughters who are younger than me. Most of all, I realized how long it had been since I had seen her.
We tend to get carried away in our own lives sometimes, without realizing how much time has gone by in between visits with people we love.
Four years. At least. How could I have gone this long without seeing her? How had I let our conversations be whittled down to the occasional “hello” on Facebook? As an amazing woman, a loving mother, and a supportive friend, she deserved more than that from me
When my mother had worked long hours to care for us, I spent a lot of time at the house across the street that had a nearly identical setup to ours. It felt like a second home, a place that I could turn to if I ever needed a grown up while mom was working.
She was the woman who sent food over for us regularly just out of the kindness of her heart. She was the woman who beat the crap out of a scorpion after it stung me in her back room. She was the woman who yelled at cars speeding down our street because she feared someone would hit one of the many kids playing. She was the woman that came over to our house immediately when our beloved family pitbull began to have seizures and almost died. There were so many times that she was there for us, and I failed to be there for her as my life got busier.
After learning of her death, I started to think about the resolution I had made earlier in the day. I had procrastinated going to see her simply because she lived on the side of town that I no longer went to. And this, I realized, was a really crappy excuse. I failed on my part of the relationship, and I think that is what me most sad of all.
I grieve for the time lost with such a wonderful person. I grieve for the fact that her daughters lost the woman they adored. I grieve for the hurt of the many people she left behind.
I cannot say that I grieve for her, though, at least not in the way most people do. I grieve for her for the things that she will miss, the grandchildren she will not see, the long life that was shortened.
According to her daughter, she passed away as peacefully as one could. And she no longer has to carry the pain of the loss of those who had gone before her. I am thankful for that peace.
Like anyone, her passing is really making me consider how I live my own life. I procrastinate in all areas. I fail to make an effort in relationships if the other person makes no effort themselves. I stress about the little things, without enjoying the bigger things. I let my personal sadness overtake my entire life (something that I’ve worked hard to fix this year). All of these are characteristics that I want to fix and continue to fix in 2015. At the top of that list is the goal to rebuild those relationships that have fallen under neglect, those friends that I have lost just because I have been too busy.
Tomorrow is the service, and I wonder how I will react. I am not religious, and I tend to stick my foot in my mouth at the most inappropriate times. How do I show my support and love for a family that has lost so much? How do I make sure that I do not make the whole thing worse? I feel a little useless without any specified task to carry out. Flowers will be sent to the service from my entire family, but it really feels like a lame and empty action.
I want to do so much more, but I feel at a loss at what will really help.