There’s a friend I haven’t spoken to in almost two years because I decided at a certain point that our relationship wasn’t worth the effort I was putting into it.  She lives across the river, but it may as well be another country.  She called this morning because she needed to tell me that a mutual friend of ours has lost her three-year-old daughter.  I just talked to the mutual friend on Monday, and I knew they were expecting this to happen.  It was one of those situations where you just don’t know what to hope for.  The little girl was so sick, had always been sick, would always be sick, and release from her suffering would only be found in death, and that’s not something I know how to pray for.  I suppose that what small part of me dared to hope was hoping for a miracle.  I remember hoping that way when my mother was dying–I hoped, but I knew it wasn’t forthcoming.  I had to make do with the peace of knowing that she was in a better place, as the cliche goes.  It’s one thing to lose a parent, but another thing entirely, I think, to lose a child.  As a daughter and a mother, I wouldn’t begin to compare the two.

The mother in this case was not in a position psychologically or emotionally to make this phone call, so she asked my other friend to do it–the one I haven’t spoken to in two years because I decided I just didn’t like her that much anymore.  It was sort of an awkward conversation, initially, if only because there isn’t a whole lot to say when someone dies.  At one point she said, “I think I was out of sorts the last time I saw you.  I’m sorry about that.”

“Well,” I said lamely, “we’re all out of sorts sometimes.”

“But I think I wasn’t very nice.  Actually, I know I was not nice.  So I apologize.”

I’ve forgotten how I responded because I can only remember having absolutely no idea how to respond.  What could I say?  The fact was, she hadn’t been nice.  That was why I never called her after that.  But I was also thinking, how small and petty I have been, and it’s only just now that I can see it.  Would she ever have realized where she was in the wrong, if I hadn’t given her the silent treatment all that time?  Maybe not, but it doesn’t seem important now.  It seems disgustingly unimportant.  And I’m twice sad because I’m sure I never would have spoken to her again if she hadn’t been charged to deliver this awful news.

This isn’t about me, though.  I haven’t lost a baby.  I haven’t even lost a friend.