I spent most of this weekend sad. On my way home from work Friday evening the fact that my mother was gone and not coming back really hit me. And so I cried. And I cried, and I cried and then I cried some more. I don’t know why THIS weekend was special, maybe because the weather had turned and it was WET and gross out? who knows. All I do know is that I was very, very sad all weekend and I cried a lot.
Over the last year I have lost touch with a few people; some intentionally, some not. One person in particular, a friend of over 20 years, was particularly callous in her dealings with me – when mum was officially diagnosed and her surgery scheduled I was slated to host a baby shower for a dear friend. When I got the news about mum my first instinct was of course to drop everything and fly across the country to be with her. I called my (very) pregnant girlfriend, explained the situation and asked her if she wanted the shower to go ahead without me, which it totally could, or if she wanted to wait for me to get back, potentially post-baby, and then do it. She left it to me, totally understanding that what I had to do was a wee bit more important than making party sandwiches for a bunch of women. So I called our other friend, at whose aunt’s house the shower was being held (neither of us have a house large enough and her aunt had graciously offered the use of her garden). She too left it to me and I told them that I would let them know my decision after I spoke with my parents.
In the interim I was copied on an email by the third friend involved, my friend of over 20 years, in which she basically said well since Kathryn is bailing on her responsibilities I guess we had better take over and make sure this shower happens.
Um, excuse me? I was not “bailing”. Also? She never called me to see if a. my mum was ok and b. if I was ok. She just took it upon herself to cast me in a bad light and basically be a bitch.
I wound up NOT going home that weekend and went ahead with the planning and hosting of the shower, which included doing (and paying for) all of the shopping, cooking and preparing the house and garden for 30 women. And I did it gladly because the mum to be is a dear friend.
(and not that we do these things for the kudos, but to add insult to injury, the other 2 girls involved got all the thank you’s from the guests – not me)
Still not one word of concern from my so-called-friend.
She finally got around to calling me about a week later, asking how my mum was doing. When I told her the diagnosis, which at that stage was that she had bladder cancer and her bladder had to be removed, her response was “well at least it’s not as bad as what my sister has”. I feel the need to fully explain this statement – her “sister” is a 50 something year old woman who was the put up for adoption at birth daughter of her step-father and his first wife. She met her “sister” 3 years ago. And regardless, who cares whose is worse? My mother was diagnosed with serious cancer, was having an organ removed and I was scared.
Stunned by her response, I cut the conversation short.
A week or two later we were supposed to meet for cocktails after work – I was flying out to Montreal in a few days to be with my family during mum’s surgery and for Thanksgiving. When I called to confirm time, location, ect (on my way to meet her) she was laughing and joking with some people and said that she was with people from work and that I should join them. Um, no. I was in no mood to be with people I didn’t know. So I told her that, That I was not up to being in a group with people I didn’t know and that my preference was to go just the two of us for a quiet drink and chat. She told me that I really had to stop being so self-centred.
So I went home, seething. I called her at home later but she wasn’t there so I left a message. I probably should not have but I was hurt and angry. I told her that I felt she was being very unsupportive and that her whole attitude towards me and what I was going through with my mum was very hurtful.
I should probably also explain here that she and my mum were close, that my mum had taken care of my friend on many occasions when her own family would or could not.
Anyway, my trip to Montreal came and went. It was stressful and emotional and just the beginning it turned out of a terrible roller-coaster that we would all ride for the next 10 months.
My friend called me once after I got back but I really didn’t have the energy to call her back.
In February we got the news that the cancer was back and that mum would have to go through chemo. As we know now that was the beginning of the end and I was back and forth between Montreal and Vancouver quite a bit over the next few months, trying to keep things at work and at home afloat and trying to remain positive for all those around me.
We have a few mutual friends so my friend new what was going on. She called once, leaving a message. I returned the call, giving her an update. That was the last time we had any form of contact. As a result of this “rift” I have lost contact with not a small circle of people I used to be quite social with. Not such a great loss as I see it now. But it still bugs me.
Never has she sent any kind of sign or acknowledgement that my mum died. Not a note, not an email, not a text message, NOTHING. Not a word. Quite telling about her character, I think.
All of that back-story melodrama to say this: on Saturday afternoon I managed to get the energy together and dragged myself in the pouring rain down to Park Royal to run some errands. And who walked out of the Home Depot right in front of me but her. She was with one of another of my once-friends. I felt physically sick to my stomach and darted into the next store. They were in front of me, it was pouring rain and I was wearing a hood so they did not see me, but still. The last thing I was up for was an awkward encounter and I truly did not have the energy to smile and pretend to be glad to see them.
That near-encounter brought up so many unresolved feelings and emotions and down-right anger that I have been keeping under wraps all this time.
I have lost so much this year, it’s just not fair.
Fuck them and the brooms they rode in on.