Not the Day, nor the Hour
I got a phone call a few minutes ago that one of my chapter sorors passed away. Not just any chapter soror. The one who came and took me under her wing and made me feel welcome in that chapter. She was an older soror and always preached good health and good ways to me. She warned me about my family and their sickness and told me that there was a way for me to avoid all of that now if I take heed and follow the correct path now. She always called to check on me and always made sure that I had what I needed and asked about my parents often. She would invite me over for tea and cookies and we’d sit and just talk. She was a sweet, southern woman and her southern ways invited me and at the same time repelled me — because she would want to call and talk during the work day. And southerners sure can chat. But it would be in the middle of the work day and I need my ears to listen to clips I’m editing or have to be in meeting after meeting. And she was retired, and had plenty of time. I always felt bad cutting our conversations short, but I’d try to let her know that I was there and I loved her, even if we didn’t talk.
Then she was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer. This everpresent entity in my life. That seems to strike everyone in my family and for whatever reason, we all deal with it like it’s an annoying cold or the flu or something. And then we’re over it. I guess I just assumed it was the same for everyone. She’d still come to chapter meeting. Albeit meek. Then one day, she passed her duties on to another Soror in the chapter and stopped coming. She called me at one point when she was strong enough to ask me to have a few hats made for her “like the one I made before.” Little crocheted hats that would hold her head warm during the wintertime, now that she lost her hair. I had a pink and green one made for her on GP when she was healthy. So I called the other soror I had make those hats for me and commissoned 4 more. A Black one, a peach one, a dark green one and a brown one. And every day… every opportunity that would come up — I’d remind myself that I needed to bring them to her.
Every day for a year.
But I procrastinated. Thinking she’d be there. Even seeing with my own two eyes at the retreat that she was awefully frail. That wasn’t enough to hasten me. Other things took precedence. Work. My Family. My friends. Sittin around and doing nothing. And now she’s gone. And I have the hats to remind me of my lack of care. Another name to erase from my address book. From my wedding invitee list. Eventually, from my thoughts.
It’s the same thing I did with Grandma. She lived a mere 7 blocks away from us for years. I MAYBE visited her every month… or two. I did speak to her every day. But… seeing her… EH… she’ll be there, I thought. Then she moved in next door to us. I remember thinking as we were moving her in… Now I can visit her every day on my way home from work. Just stop in and check in on her. She lived in the apartment for 36 hours after we moved her in… before they had to take her to the hospital where she lived out the last 5 months of her life. I went to the hospital every day… I guess I kept my promise, then. But … sure would have been nice to enjoy her when she was able to respond. But I took that for granted too.
I’m really beating myself up. I know they know I love them. But I sincerely could have done better. They thought more of me. I knew the dangers of joining a chapter full of older women. I’d come to love them… and then they’d pass on. And I’d have to remain to mourn them. And constantly ask my self… why we do any of this. What’s the purpose to love… just to lose.