I had a shock today and it was very unwelcome. At the start of this month I’d gone through my address book and sent out Christmas cards to all my friends. In one or two I’d added a note perhaps regretting I’ve not seen so much of them recently. I must have thought of it as a duty performed. Today as I came home from being with Yvonne I picked up my cards from behind the door. After an urgent trip to the loo for bus journey bladderitis I put some lunch on then opened my cards.
One card had but a single name on it and I couldn’t quite register the fact and I know my eyes scanned the card for the other name, the lead name. It wasn’t there. There was a note which I read carefully. My friend’s wife told me he’d been diagnosed with liver cancer this year and had died peacefully in August. I’d known nothing of it because I’d not seen anything of them this year and the last time I’d written was an Easter card. At one point Mike and I used to see them virtually every Saturday morning as we were finishing our shop as they arrived to start theirs. Then we started and finished a little earlier to satisfy me and that contact, slim as it was, had been broken.
J had been the Senior Officer in an office I used to visit perhaps once a week for benefit surgeries. I’d been going there a few years and he was always pleasant and would always pass the time of day until the office opened. There were others there that I perhaps I used to talk to more but it was for only about ten minutes until the office officially opened and my work started. Ten minutes, maybe once a week for some years. I could never honestly say we were friends but we were friendly. When I became ill and went on long term sick very few of my work colleagues visited me (says more about me than about them) but J made the occasional visit. After Ju died he perhaps came a little more often and maybe stayed a bit longer. He and his lovely wife even took me to a concert which had my nerve ends screaming but I managed it. He insisted they were only ever a phone call away. They did not deserve my neglect and just the occasional card. He had become a friend who deserved so much more as did his wife who might have needed some of the support they gave me when I needed it.
OK, the reason for this post is to maybe remind some of you that if you’ve got friends you haven’t seen in a while and have perhaps just dropped the odd card on. It might be a nice idea given the time of year if you can perhaps give them a phone call or maybe even a little visit. I’m sure they’d appreciate it and hopefully you aren’t met with the shock I was.