Sunday, June 22, 2008


It always seems there will be more time later. Time to hear a loved one's voice again, time to share a meal. Time to paw through a thrift shop together again, time to take another photo. But sometimes, time runs out all of a sudden.

If I had known my sister's last day was rushing towards me, if I had known time was about to run out, how very differently I would have treated the time.

My sister's time ran out on me and who would have ever guessed? On Wednesday morning, she never woke and no one knows yet why. It takes scientists and doctors, clinical and detached, to discover why her time ran out at 42. And I am left with regret. Her voice was only a phone call away; how I wish I had recently heard it. Her zany humor was available to me whenever I would have planned to spend a day with her. Did I think I didn't have time then? I don't have time now.

I found a note she wrote me when Lydia died. She was living in Florida then, but urged me to come see her at a moments notice, if I ever needed time to clear my head. Why didn't I? She told me if I needed anything at all from her, I could have her on the next flight out. I wish I had taken the time.

She told me I was "absolutely precious to [her]". If only the time was not up, that I could experience again her boundless love.

Goodbye, Traci. You are absolutely precious to me, too. I'm sorry I did not take the time to show you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Book All Women Must Read

I was diddling around in the library today, waiting for Kyla to pile a half-dozen cat books into her tote, when an interesting title snagged me from a nearby shelf: What Did I Do Wrong? When Women Don't Tell Each Other the Friendship is Over by Liz Pryor. I was hooked immediately. You mean this is a universal female experience? I had no idea!

Has it happened to you? Have you been merrily going along with someone, maybe even approached best-friend status, when the ass dropped out of the whole operation? The phone? Abruptly silent.
E-mails? Absent. Dinner invitations? You're eatin' alone now, friend.

I'm only half-way through reading the book, so I can't say for sure if there's any useful help here. But if you've ever been inexplicably dumped by a friend, there's commiseration in spades. Or maybe you're the dump-er. I've done that, too. There was that one very pretty, super-fun friend I met years ago when my daughter was a baby. At first, I thought she was a lot of spontaneous fun. Then, I realized she was a psychotic, unstable powder keg who couldn't have carried out a day as planned unless she was straight-jacketed and wheeled around on a dolly. There was another chic I was getting friendly with once until she went postal over my daughter not coming to her daughter's birthday party. Apparently, two months prior I had signed some sort of blood pact that I positively wouldn't have other plans that day.

All that is not too big a deal if it's a newish friend you've just had one or two coffees with. Beg off a few times and the hint is gotten. The book is about the stunner that happens when a very close friend just bails, leaving you wondering what the hell happened. That happened to me years ago and it still hurts. Could it be that she just decided she didn't like me anymore? That is such a bitter pill to swallow. Don't we all want to believe all people should like us? At least all people that matter?

The book says - and I concur - that society doesn't even acknowledge the pain that can come from the demise of a friendship. If it's a marriage breaking up, or a love relationship, there's a whole section at the bookstore on coping. Hell, there are even books about grieving the loss of your job. But a dissolution of a friendship hurts at least as much, not that I know about divorce, but I'm guessing. The basic message is essentially the same: You no longer count with me.

See, the thing is that women are rarely straight with one another. And even if we were, would that make it hurt less? Which is worse: having a friend dump you while you wonder for ages why, or having a friend tell you straight up that they are sick of hearing you whine about your troubles, sick of you using big words, think your husband is lazy and besides all that, they can't stand the way you chew?

It's not any easier to be the one who wants to end the friendship. There is no bloody way I would spell out exactly why I want to end the friendship. No possibility. I am like most women, finding myself a little too busy until the dump-ee gets the hint. Fortunately, I've hardly ever had to dump a friend.

Wait. No. It is easier to be the one who wants to end the friendship. The fallout from being dumped lasts ages and ages. It strikes at your self-worth. It makes you wonder if you are bad, annoying, ungracious, obtuse, ugly, foolish, arrogant, myopic, egocentric, harsh, careless, thoughtless or just have halitosis. Then you think, no, it's just that she is. And besides that, she has bad taste in clothes.

Maybe it is better if the dump-er just spells it out. Then you can flatly deny it and get on with your life.