Sunday, March 25, 2012

How Not To Be A Friend

Jenny and I hit it off on our first date.

As friends.

We laughed hard and enjoyed messing with the other people in the small bar we were at.

But there were too many differences in our life for it to ever be more than friends.

She was 8 years younger than me with no kids, but wanted them. I had kids, but wanted no more. She hadn't really gotten her career started, while mine was going along quite nicely at the time.

We hung out in our free time for about a year. She'd hang out with my sons and I, even, I still remember going to Taste of Minnesota and jamming out to bands with her and the mini-mes.

But it was always platonic. We never even kissed each other.

We both ended up meeting other people and dating, so we rarely would hang out, and our texting or phone calls became less frequent. She ended up getting engaged to a guy who wanted to start a family with her, and I was so damn happy for her, even if we didn't communicate as much.

And we always had Facebook as a way to stay up on what each other was up to.

And then about two years ago, she told me she had stage 4 cancer. The odds were not looking good for her.

I kept up to date on her battle on Facebook, and would send notes to her letting her know she could win this thing, with as tough as she was. She stayed positive and truly believed she could win this fight.

Her fiance was by her side the entire time, helping her try and feel comfortable in the darkest hours of chemo and radiation.

And then I got busy, and was not as good about keeping up with her battle because I had silly every day life changes going on around me. Things that seemed stressful: Work stress, moving stress, dating stress, financial stress. Eff all that stuff. She was fighting for her life.

Last week, I realized I hadn't seen anything from her on Facebook for awhile.

I couldn't find her.

Did she unfriend me? No, she'd never do that.

I searched for her on Facebook to see if perhaps she accidentally had deleted me from her friends' list.

No profile.

I went to google and searched her name.

And then I read her obituary from last summer.

The lesson, my friends, is this.

Treat every moment with every one of your friends like it might be your last with them.

And don't take anyone for granted.

I'll miss you, Jenny! I'm sorry I let my stupid life get in the way of properly saying goodbye to you.

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