It's been a bad week....
A dear friend died. He started feeling bad about two months ago; only ONE month ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and "given" six months, but for his sake i'm glad it took much less. For his friends, though, it's been bad.
Many of us never had a chance to say goodbye. He hasn't been online, or answering texts or emails -- i'm not even sure he ever received the two messages i sent. I'm sorry to say (to his wife or to his ghost, whichever) -- THIS IS WRONG.
Friends need acknowledgement, at least. An "answer" isn't required, but "message received, thanks" is not too much to ask.
EDIT -- allow me to make this clear -- the following is a new though related subject....
Friends OWE a certain amount of acknowledgement to each other. To simply ignore a message is "karmically answerable" and i believe we'll get our comeuppance for neglect in this department. Here, i'm not speaking about the dear departed, but to very-much-live people.
Someone i only know online, but who has nevertheless become dear to me, had this happen. We, her online never-met-but-close circle can't believe that someone who KNEW her, who WAS her friend, can behave in such a way.
If you don't know what to say, say "i don't know what to say." If "it's over," tell the other person, "i'm sorry [even if you're not], but this can't go on -- it's over." If it IS over, don't keep people dangling. KARMICALLY ANSWERABLE.
Tribal, hunter-gatherer communities only kick people out who are (as Lori pointed out in a recent blog post) unfixable. It's a rare and exceptional circumstance. These days, however, the behavior seems to be on the rise. It almost makes me believe in the CARB Syndrome hypothesis, which i have been inclined to consider a bid-for-fame in the same vein as the stupid food-reward hypothesis of he-who-will-not-be-named. But we KNOW that carbohydrate overload affects brain function, as we KNOW that viral/bacterial load can, too.
Who knows why the people who SHOULD treat us with extra consideration sometimes treat us with LESS? Is it some kind of punitive behavior for a shortcoming we've unknowingly exhibited ourselves in the past? I once had a "friend" who "ended it," and she said to me (to my surprise) that i hadn't been of any help to her when her father died, though her boss had been.... I'm not sure what kind of help she expected of me, but her boss had recently had a loss, and had received some "grief therapy" which i knew nothing about. When MY father died, i was 12 years old, and there was no such thing as grief therapy.... I had offered my friend my sincere sympathy and regrets, and sent flowers and attended the funeral, but that wasn't enough. When she ended our friendship, she made it definitive, which was painful but responsible of her.
But when we reach out to those who have been close to us (as in my case), or simply update our status to someone we used to be close to (as in the case of the internet circle member) and there's no reply at all ... it is indeed "wrong too."