Someone I love had a seizure last week. It's not my place to say who – that's her story, not mine – but suffice it to say that when I woke up to her text about it the next morning, I wanted to go to her immediately & do whatever I could to make sure that she was well.
Of course, there's nothing I can do. And she is well. Her doctor said it shouldn't happen again, now that they've identified the cause. She's home and resting, & she expects to be fine. Still, the mere idea of this person who means so much to me, suffering something as serious as a seizure... I lost it for a little bit that morning. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I still can't.
Life is good for me right now - like, really good. Any complaints I have are of the most minor variety. I am happy & healthy & in love & financially stable, & there is not a damn thing in the world for me to gripe or fret about. For that, I feel incredibly fortunate.
But I am always, always conscious of the fact that life can change on a dime, that what is great right now can be terrible tomorrow - or, heck, what's great right now could be terrible within the next 10 minutes. You never know what's about to happen to you or what sort of phone call you're going to get from someone you love.
And we all know that, in theory, but how often are we really living like we understand it?
How often do we ignore a text from a friend or family member, thinking we'll get to it later... & then forget to?
How often do we consider picking up the phone & calling someone we love while we're in the midst of a long drive & then decide we'll just listen to the radio, for now, instead?
How often do we cancel plans with friends because the physical exertion sounds like too much work, spending our time reading books & surfing the Internet instead of forging real-life bonds with our loved ones?
How often do we see via Facebook that someone we care about is going through something major - be it an illness, a death in the family, or a moment of joy, like a wedding or a graduation or the birth of a child - & simply comment online instead of taking the time to send more personal well wishes?
I think sometimes of my friend Elissa's death three years ago (wow). After she died, I read back through our texts throughout the five years of our friendship, & I was devastated to see the number of times I bailed on plans or forgotten to respond. Sure, I wrote her while she was in the hospital & even went to visit her in Chicago, but why did it take me so damn long to show her I cared? Why wasn't I a better friend sooner, when she was well? Why did it take a major illness to shake me out of my friendship complacency?
I don't want to be that person.
I know keeping in touch is difficult, & it requires significant effort, but isn't that effort worth it? I think it is. I'm not saying we need to be in touch with out friends & family even day or even every week or every month. I'm just saying that I want the people I love to know that I love them. And I'm going to start trying a hell of a lot harder to make sure they do.