Every couple of weeks, the group will be issued a
"challenge entry". The site will post a excerpt from the challenge entries, as
well as the link to the complete entry found on the journaller's own journal site.
A TICKLISH SITUATION
December 5, 2000
For some reason, Im feeling uncomfortable about the time which has passed since we last saw some friends of ours here in town. Its an awkward situation and I dont quite know what to do about it, if anything. These are two of the kindest, most generous people Ive ever met.
It was about 27 years ago when she showed up on my doorstep to talk with me about a some project I was involved in at the time. People had told me for a long time that I should meet her and that we would get along well. We bonded instantly. In truth, our long friendship has not been a close one. Sometimes, even though we live in the same town, it may be a year or more between interactions. We have occasionally worked together intensely on projects, and then go our separate ways. Weve had a couple of times in all these years where weve been thrown together quite closely for brief but intense periods of time.
But we live on opposite sides of town, and when our children were in school, they attended different schools, so we didnt work together on child-related activities, and kind of went in different directions with other activities. Shes also a very busy woman, doing a lot of charity work.
She is one of the people Ive met in my life whom I admire the most. And so when the card came nearly a year ago, I really didnt know how to respond. It was an anniversary card. And it was a very nice, home-made anniversary card. It was happy and funny and full of love and smiles and congratulations and joy on our anniversary. The problem was that it wasnt our anniversary. What it was was the anniversary of Pauls death. I knew instantly what had happened. She is such a thoughtful person that Im sure when Paul died she wrote on her calendar Sykes anniversary, and when the date came around, she forgot that it wasnt a wedding anniversary. I understood completely and we even laughed about it here in the family. It brought some much needed release of tension just having that sweet mistake show up in our mailbox.
But then came the tricky part. How could I respond? I knew she would be mortified if I didnt say anything and then she read in the paper about the big memorial service the town was having to dedicate the Plaza for Paul. So I didnt think I could just not say anything because shed read about it in the paper. By the same token, I certainly didnt want to make her feel uncomfortable, because we understood the love that both led her to mark the date on her calendar in the first place, and then to make the mistake she did.
I thought about it and consulted with other friends about it. Ultimately, I decided that the best way to handle it was to send a little note thanking them for the card and gently (I hoped) explain the mistake and that I appreciated the love that had gone into it, and we were happy to have some reason to smile on that sad occasion. I said something like that.
Problem is, I havent heard from her since then and its been nearly a year. Ive acted as if it never happened and Ive contacted them (by e-mail, because they dont usually answer their phone, so e-mail tends to be the most efficient way of reaching them) to suggest mutual outings but there is always a reason why they are too busy to get together with us. Im not sure if I made a giant faux pas in how I handled things.
Maybe it would have been better to just ignore the whole thing and hope that she didnt read the newspaper that day. I was really just trying to protect her, to thank her for her kindness and to let her know that we loved them in spite of the error. But now that so much time has elapsed, I feel uncomfortable contacting them again. If they are embarrassed by it, it could compound things.
Im also not sure how this became, in my mind, somehow my fault. Im not sure why Im agonizing over what I could possibly have done wrong. My friend teases me about always thinking Im responsible for the heat death of the universe. But when you care deeply about people you cant help but be bothered when you seem to be shut out of their lives and you cant help but wonder if there was anything you did that caused the response you are getting (or in this case, not getting!).
I havent a clue if she reads this journal. I suspect she does not. But if she does, I hope she will recognize herself in this entry and realize that Ive missed her and wonder what has been going on...and that Im feeling too uncomfortable to pick up the phone and ask her.
|created 11/28/00 by Bev Sykes|