Friday, February 25, 2011

“Why Didn’t You Tell Me?”

I was going to write about Longtime Companion today, but realized I’d already posted about AIDS this week. 
I received an email from a friend the other day.  I’d interviewed her for my book a while back, and she had a painful story about a friend of hers who had died.  They’d lost touch, and when the friend died, she wasn’t notified.  It was months later when she heard the news.
Her email was almost unbelievable:  the same thing had happened two more times.  Three friends of hers had died.  Three families had failed to notify her.
Now, I haven’t talked to her since I received her email.  She was clearly stunned that it had happened – twice – again.
It did, however, get me thinking.
Consider for a moment your friends.  Maybe you grew up with them, went to school with them, worked with them, volunteered with them, or traveled with them.  Maybe you live hundreds or thousands of miles away from your family.  Does your family know your friends (and I don’t mean the Facebook variety)?  Do they know these people exist, much less how important they are in your life?
Who would notify them?
When we plan for the future – not that many of us do – we leave instructions for funerals and donations and how to divide up our belongings.  Rarely do we leave instructions for whom to notify in the event of our death.
Maybe you had a similar experience to my friend.  Think back at how hurt you were – not just by your friend’s death, but by finding out about it months or even years later.
Now, promise you won’t do that to your friends.

Monday – “Ask Amy”
Wednesday – Our Parents’ Friends
Friday – Chuckles the Clown

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