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I found out last night that someone in my circle of friends in college has died, of a heart attack.

She was always in ill-health - she had been diabetic from the age of 3, and I'm told had had two kidney transplants - but any such death is always a shock.

I didn't know her well, and we hadn't kept in touch:  the last time I saw her was probably around graduation.  I'm not sure she would have remembered my name:  I couldn't remember her surname.

I guess I'm feeling guilty because, out of touch as I was, and not very well acquainted, my first reaction was, "Oh.  Huh."

I think for many of our friends, this is the first time that a contemporary known to us has died of natural causes.  I lost a high school friend to AIDS, many years ago, but that has receded into the past.  It's strange to realize that we are all people of an age to have heart attacks now.

I volunteered to call F. and let him know.  He and she had some kind of romantic history, back when they were students.  He was much more openly upset.  He thanked me several times for making sure he knew.

She was an ardent champion of animal welfare, and the obituary suggested that we donate to our local animal shelter or the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in lieu of flowers, so that's what I'll do.

I feel as if I ought to have a more overtly emotional reaction.  Yet, it would be wrong to call me unaffected.  

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
wickedgillie
Sep. 5th, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
Last year, a classmate (also a diabetic since childhood) passed from a heart attack. He and I weren't close during school, although we certainly knew each other, but we were on the reunion committee together, so it was particularly sad. And yet, my reaction was maybe more like yours.

It's weird losing contemporaries to natural causes that are at least somewhat associated with age.
np_complete
Sep. 6th, 2015 12:57 pm (UTC)
I got a message from my friend B saying she had news but wanted to tell me on the phone rather than in an email. Since B. had been in the hospital on and off for months, I was greatly worried, and called immediately.

I wasn't prepared for bad news about someone I was only distantly connected to, I think.

But I am honoring my friend-of-friend's memory. I will donate to our local animal shelter or the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, or maybe both.
np_complete
Sep. 7th, 2015 05:55 pm (UTC)
By the way, how is Paige doing? The last I heard, she had (amazingly!) beaten the cancer into remission. Is she still OK?
wickedgillie
Sep. 7th, 2015 08:02 pm (UTC)
She just had another scan last week at her new oncologist's office. I"m assuming all is still well, but that's what the ongoing scans are for.
earlgreytea68
Sep. 6th, 2015 01:59 pm (UTC)
You clearly feel sorry for this woman's death, and that is an appropriate reaction. Don't be hard on yourself for not being *more* sorry. Everyone experiences grief in a different way. ::hugs::
np_complete
Sep. 6th, 2015 02:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you. You are right. And I feel better now that I've made the donations. That was the right thing to do.

*hugs*
xebgoc
Sep. 7th, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I've had a few of these... some expected as cancer progressed, others sudden through accidents or heart/late diagnosis progressive diseases... and it always takes me aback.

As earlgreytea68 said, everyone reacts and grieves differently... your process is your process. Don't feel guilty for it in any way.
np_complete
Sep. 7th, 2015 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the wise words, and the hugs.

I've given money to the JDRF and to my local cat shelter (where I got Jack). And I had a long talk with F. a few hours ago, who had a lot to process. (He and she were at one point very close.)

I feel better now that I have honored her. I visited the virtual guest book of the funeral home where her funeral will be, and saw many, many expressions of sorrow. It feels good to know that so many in her community loved her.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )