Thursday, September 26, 2013

"a season in hell"

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.

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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."

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. thank you, H! you're a GOOD ONE! :'-)

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  2. I'm confused. Are you angry at his widow for not going into his email and responding to you? Her husband went from normal to dead in two months with the hell of pancreatic cancer in those two months, and you are talking karma payback to her for not going into his email to respond to you?

    I hope I'm misconstruing what you are saying. Because I think it's awful for you to have anything but complete, abject sorrow for what his loved ones are going through and have been through in the past two months.

    If I am getting your post wrong, I apologize.

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    1. i KNOW she was accessing his texts and emails. one of our "local boys" was visiting almost every day, and passing on status reports and messages -- it couldn't have been too much trouble for HIM to communicate ... as he was doing already. last week, poor W and his wife went ahead and took a vacation "back east" that they had planned months before; there, they got together with bunches of old friends, and many photos were posted online of the gatherings. after our friend passed on, another friend (who had also seen him a couple of weeks ago) phoned to tell me the bad news. the widow then scheduled the funeral in the middle of what WOULD have been her husband's last living-history event -- anyone who wanted to attend one couldn't attend the other -- she, BTW, always resented his involvement in the hobby. he wanted to be cremated and his ashes taken to the living-history village all these local friends are involved with, but if those ashes never arrive i won't be surprised.

      how selfish of me to feel grief and pain that i never had a chance to say goodbye! how outrageous, that i should suspect that certain messages never reached my friend's attention....

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  3. I am sorry for everything - for your loss of a friend,for his wife, for your friend who grieved for the loss of her father so much that it affected your friendship.
    Grief and sorrows could change a lot about how people act and interact with others. I divorced my first husband after my father died. There were probably several logical reasons to get divorced, but I left him mainly because I didn't FEEL he supported me as much as I needed - it broke my bond with him for good. Being in grief makes you emotionally numb and too sensitive at the same time.

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    1. you're a wise and kind person, Galina! all i've wanted throughout this mess was to grieve WITH my friends, but there's been a lot of behavior which has been petty and spiteful, and it's left a very bad taste in my mouth. this is the LAST kind of behavior our lost friend would have desired or expected! :-(

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    2. Thank you, Tess.
      Funeral indeed often brings the person who is left alive into posession of more power and allows him/her to exercise his/her wish with absolute freedom impossible before. It is what it is, I think I understand how you and other friends are disappointed. A death of one person sets thous who are left behind free. How often I observed that siblings start an open fight after their parents die because it was what they(siblings) always wanted, but couldn't do without disappointing their parents. My mom totally broke up with her in-lows after my father died. To her defense I have to say they truly deserved it. The ability to do so was her main consolation in her grief. Sometimes to suck it in (and fume with your friends and let some steam out on your blog ) are just available way to go.

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    3. :-) the blog IS a "safe" place to vent.... i don't think ANY of my "real life" friends ever read it....

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  4. Brilliant summary and a very astute perspective on this whole issue, Tess. For 2.5 million years, societies were established and made possible through principles of trust. Neolithic systems however require segregation and domination to order to operate. This has only escalated in severity post agriculture and industry. I think CC works so well because we are a small band, established by default on these age old HG principles :)

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    1. that's an outstanding insight, LE -- we ARE a self-chosen tribe, aren't we? wow... something to cogitate over while J and i drive to the funeral on saturday.... have you read Stanton's "Gnoll Credo"? i enjoyed it, though it's not my usual style of literature. i think i'll read it again.

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  5. Hugs... gone too soon. I lost a close family friend a few weeks ago. Still ripped up inside about it. Accident and could not say goodbye. Hang in there, Tess. I'm sorry.

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    1. thank you, Karen. sudden accidents are AWFUL as a way to lose people! this was awful, too -- he was only in his fifties. i'm glad his sufferings were short even though they sounded pretty bad.

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  6. Very sorry for your loss, Tess. Both of human life and the friendships.

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    1. thank you, Sid. i'm hoping the friendships will heal, though the "mended fabric" will probably never be as strong as the "whole cloth" was.

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  7. I'm sorry tess. it always seems that when we need people most they are apt to disappoint. I avoid people simply because most ppl today are insane and totally sociopathic narcissists.

    I know that didn't help. sorry.

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    1. i'm getting past the acute stage, where the philosophy starts being more soothing, so yes -- your comment DOES help, both from the sympathetic and psychological sides. your synopsis works together with LE's. certainly, some groups of people seem to be more "reliably" unreliable than others -- it would be interesting to see what industries/hobbies attract these personality types.

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  8. Sorry for your loss and for your not being able to comfort your friend.

    Who's reliably unreliable? Jack Sparrow. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0325980/quotes?item=qt0416657

    Kidding aside, I've come to rely on other people less and less. Don't lean and you won't fall.

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    1. thanks, Lori. no, leaning just doesn't work, but friends of years' standing don't behave like some of the people i know have, this week....

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