Compassion from Afar

I recently learned from multiple individuals that someone I was once close to had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Like me, she is 45 years old. Like me, she is a mother of two. Like me, she has a son born on June 12, 2010. We have birthday twins.

One of my best friends let me know, and shortly after that, my ex-husband let me know. Finally, this past weekend another friend let me know.

I get it. These people wanted me to know that someone I was previously close to, someone I had a history with, was very sick. She is very ill, but the cancer spread to her brain and the reality that she will not survive this cancer.

My heart hurts for her and her family. To her husband and children. To her parents and in-laws. To her friends.

I, however, have chosen not to reach out to her. I struggled with this, but I did run this by my Alanon sponsor, and she reminded me how our friendship ended. After my heart attack, I tried to provide an olive branch and was told she was glad I was OK but never reach out to her again. With this devastating news, I thought to reach out to her. Still, I know now, through work in Alanon, that I set boundaries and that when others do, I respect their boundaries as well.

I believe this doesn’t make me a bad person. I remember that she has a support group of people who are there for her. If I am, to be honest, she probably does not have much of herself to give to others outside her family. I can’t imagine how I would feel if I knew that I would be leaving my children forever. I would want to spend as much time with them as I could.

I have chosen to donate to the families go fund me to have what time they have left together mean something to them all. An anonymous donation because I want her and her family to have the most memorable time together. My heart hurts for her. I think of her often, but we grew apart. It happens, and sometimes broken friendships can’t be fixed, but it doesn’t mean we can’t think good thoughts for these people, have compassion for them and want them to be surrounded by love and light.

It is hard not to reach out, but I know that I would not reach out to her if she did not have cancer if she were not dying. I know we have different lives, and I am glad that she does have those around her who love her so much. When it is all of our time to go, I hope that we, too, have those around us who love us deeply.

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