I couldn’t sleep tonight, so I got myself up to check my emails, which have been neglected in the flurry of activity that included a double-shift at the Theatre today, and received a piece of news I’ve been dreading for a while.
An old friend of mine from the CF community lost her fight after a huge battle tonight. She’d been in intensive care under sedation for a while and tonight she could no longer keep up the battle.
For reasons I found hard to fathom and now even harder to accept, her death has hit me so much harder than I ever thought it would.
Earlier this year, she gave birth to a son she’s wanted all of her life – a life which even ignoring CF has been tempestuous to say the least. When she announced she was pregnant, I was really, really angry. Discounting the numerous and serious risks posed to any mother with CF bearing a child, I felt it was a supremely selfish action to fulfill her own ideals without considering whether or not it was in the best interests of a child who could be left without a mother.
Hearing of her death tonight, all I’ve been able to think about is that I’ve not spoken to her in over a year, such was the strength of my feeling.
But you know what? Who am I to judge? Who am I to say whether someone should do the things they want to do, whether it’s irresponsible, inadvisable or selfish? It’s not my place to suggest any of those things and it’s even more upsetting that I’ve let it cause such a rift.
I never even expressed my feelings to her – I never told her my opinions. Why? I honestly don’t know. I guess I didn’t want to seem judgemental or to upset her, but surely I should have taken that as a warning sign that my “opinions” were unjustified and, frankly, just plain wrong.
“Life is for living” is the motto of another good friend of mine and we should all be living the life we want to live. If I’ve learned one thing from my struggles over the last few years, it’s that the cliché of precious life encouraging a “live for the day” attitude is absolutely true.
I can’t explain the depth of regret I feel for not reaching out to T since the birth of her son, for not dropping the grudge or whatever you wish to call it. For not making the effort to see if she needed my support, or even simply sending my congratulations.
Parenthood for PWCF is a very emotive subject and I’m all too aware that this post may well upset a few people. But it’s something I feel a desperate need to explain, as it’s made me realise how wrong I have been and how incorrect it is of me to stand in judgement of the way other people live their lives. I’ve always prided myself on being open, honest and – ironically – non-judgmental, but T’s death has shown me how I gloss over the cracks I don’t wish to see.
In a way, I feel I deserve the ire that’s bound to come my way – it would be, I suppose, a form of catharsis, helping me cement the knowledge that I should have kept a closer check on myself and remind me for the future that nothing is worth losing a friendship over and certainly not something that’s based on “opinions” or “feelings”.
Tor, I wish I could have said all of this to you. I wish I could have sat down with you, laughed and giggled again, met E and L and told you how sorry I was that I let this get in the way. I wish I could take back the last 18 months and keep in touch, share your joy in motherhood and see your smiling face again.
All I hope now is that, somewhere, you can read this and hear my prayers and find it in yourself to offer me forgiveness. When I come up there to join you, the first round’s on me.
No, b*llocks to that – they’re all on me.
Breath easy, angel, smile down on us all.
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