Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Friend Or Coward?

I last called Steve on February 9th. I knew it had been awhile, but not that long. Three months ago. Steve is someone I hung out with when I was living in Madison back in the early 90's. Steve's been fighting brain cancer for the past couple of years, and it's recently advanced to the stage where he's now in hospice care. Three months ago he was given six months to live. I've stopped calling. What am I afraid of?

The last time we spoke, Steve had gotten himself a bluetooth earpiece, as he was only able to use one arm. The bluetooth freed him up to do things like sketch and eat. It also meant a whole lot of background noise. It was tough enough to understand him before the bluetooth but with it, it became a much more difficult conversation. As I said goodbye, I said what I always said- "I'll give you a call next week". I haven't called since, and it eats away at me every day. I could pick up the phone right now and call, but I don't. Why?

(I've been sitting here staring at the word "why" for three minutes. No answer.)

I knew Steve had been as active at the hospice as a person can be. He'd been able to get around, had the biggest room in the place, and was living in his hometown, which meant constant visits from friends and family. Maybe I took heart in thinking that he's not alone and that I wasn't his only link to the outside world. Or maybe I'm just showing that I can't be a good friend to someone when they need a good friend the most. The easiest thing I could do today would be to call him. It would also be the hardest. 

See? There I go again. A friend of mine is dying of brain cancer and it's all about my problems, not his.
Steve passed away on May 12th. And I never called

1 comment:

DIH said...

Funny how trying to be selfless becomes the most selfish thing we do...