The first Whammy.....(and I apologize...number one may be a bit long). It's a whammy to my heart...but also a reminder to myself...an important lesson!
Sometimes we don't realize the impact that we have on others. In a way it is mind boggling! I was just reminded of this in a very real way within the last 24 hours.... Let me start at the beginning...about 30 years ago...junior high and high school. I was friendly to all and counted most people in the school as 'friends....more acquaintance friends'. I had some that I was a little closer with.....One of those was Jennifer. We spent every lunch together sitting on a bench on the quad. We rode the bus together. We had multiple classes together. She was quiet, smart and really sweet. She had the deepest southern accent. We got along great. I moved away right around graduation...and we have not seen each other since then. However we have faithfully kept in touch via Letters, Christmas cards (even during crazy college years when I almost no one got Christmas cards from me, I would go to hallmark and buy a special one for her) and once social media hit through Facebook and other such mediums. In recent years sadly it was only random 'likes' and comments on Facebook and the yearly Christmas card. Last night when my cell phone rang with an unknown number I almost didn't answer it. Telemarketer or some such none sense I was sure. But the Dade City, Florida displayed on my phone made me curious...because well I lived in Brooksville which is right near there...and of course Jennifer lives in Dade City. I answered it expecting to shortly thereafter hang up on a sales call. (Yes I need to get myself back on the do not call list...I must have fallen off that lost!). The voice on the other end took me right back to the years I lived in Florida. Deep southern accent ....it was Missy...Jennifer's sister (incidentally missy was just a year or two older so I knew her too). She was calling to tell me that Jennifer had passed away that morning. I was in shock. I talked to missy for a while and found out what happened (she had cancer and had requested that it be kept as private as possible and since I'm 20 hours or so away by car I never knew).
So a whammy to lose my friend....but also a huge reminder to myself that my actions and behaviors really affect people!!! Here is someone that was shy and quiet ...I extended my friendship to her and 26 years after the last time we saw each other in person....and after years of not really having real contact I am on the call list that she left to notify about her death. (can we count the FB likes and the Christmas cards as real contact...I'm going to say no!). I don't even recall sharing my cellphone number with her!!! I either forgot or they had to search to get my number! It tells me that my friendship had a larger impact upon her life than I may have realized.
I feel guilty....I could have been such a better friend in recent years! The Internet opens up the world that makes it easier to stay in touch. When I was in Florida a few years back (2014) I had thought about flying down a day earlier and visiting Jennifer but logistically and financially it would have been difficult. But I SHOULD have!!!
How simple an act of kindness...the extension of friendship really is...but very far reaching in the hearts and lives of those on the receiving end!!!
Whammy two came while I was on the phone with Missy. I asked what type of cancer. Colo-rectal....already spread to the liver at the time of diagnosis. My heart stopped. That is exactly what my father is fighting! I heard the story of Jennifer's fight and while it started with the same diagnosis it sounds like she gave up and stopped fighting. I'm going to cling to that and to the power of prayer when it comes to my father!!! (Dad is currently receiving radiation in Baltimore...which they indicate will be the last step before surgery....he is concerned about his cat that is home alone....with me and my cats!!!! I sent him this picture last night.....and yes, shadow is definitely missing his daddy!!! Just like Ethel is really missing her granddaddy!!)
Dad seems to be handling the radiation with flying colors....just like he did the first rounds of chemo! We continue to pray!!
Whammy three? Just the normal monthly ick.
Whammy four???? I woke up with draining sinus ick causing a sore throat and a sinus pressure headache!
You know your day isn't going to go well when you make a stop at the pharmacy and your purchases look like this...
Yes I made a few more purchases while I was there...
Ohhh and while Jennifer's death is just reminding me to take care of myself to try to be as healthy as possible so that I CAN live far into the future in a healthy manner.....today is just a day that I needed more...
I'm not falling off the rails...but for today I'm going to mourn the loss of my friend, lament about my failure as a friend, worry about my dad, cough and sniffle through this sinus gunk, and just ride out the monthly ick and its corresponding emotions with a slowly dwindling pile of candy on my work desk!!!!