This is a guilt-ridden post. It is not humorous. It’s about not remembering that the mother of one of my children’s friends had told me three years ago that she had breast cancer. It’s about how I forgot to follow up on this person, even though she lives in my neighborhood.
My sister came to live with me in June of 2017. I can use that as my excuse for not remembering. I was all-consumed with her care for her first year here.
But then I wasn’t. And still I forgot about this person in my neighborhood. Life goes on. We live in our little bubbles and don’t remember to interact with the larger world sometimes. I know that I do that. Even at the senior center exercise classes, when I see women hugging each other and greeting each other, I am not doing that. I am trying not to regurgitate my breakfast. I don’t call out to anyone for fear that I will have an acid reflux attack if I do.
The Wednesday teacher has the class yelling out while exercising during certain songs. I smile but can’t join in. Yelling out is not conducive with keeping my stomach happy. I can’t eat and then sing right away either. It’s because of a worn-put sphincter muscle at the stomach’s opening. I don’t want to stir up trouble by bellowing a short time after swallowing a meal. I can’t eat on Tuesday nights before chorus.
But I digress.
About a month ago, I saw a medical supply van in front of the person’s house. A hospital bed was being wheeled inside.
That is when I remembered. How this woman had come to my house to buy her youngest daughter some vintage dresses for high school. How she’d stood in my house and told me about her cancer. Shop owners are sometimes like hair dressers. People open up to us.
She also told me something very intimate about her marriage, something I could never put in a blog post. But it haunts me, that she entrusted me with these details of her life, and that I forgot.
I have to do better. I need to keep a written list of those people in my life who need my prayers. I failed this person, and it is too late.
My adult child told me on the holiday weekend that the friend’s mother died. The woman was younger than me by a decade. Her oldest and my youngest were Bible school buddies back in the day. I confessed to my child that I’d seen the hospital bed being delivered and that I had failed to do anything about it.
I don’t want to be a person who forgets the big stuff. Cancer is big stuff. I should’ve been there, even if we were not true friends, but mothers of friends. I can’t un-hear the problem in her marriage. I can’t un-see the van with the bed.
Marty, I am so sorry that I let you down.
I have to do better.