Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Missed Connections

with 13 comments

Folks, earlier tonight I heard from a friend that another of our circle had died. I felt terrible about this for many reasons, and I still do — but much of why I feel so awful may surprise you.

See, I think in some ways I dropped the ball with this individual. She was a bright, funny, caring woman, and I liked talking to her when I saw her online, but for a long time, I wasn’t completely able to reach out or let anyone else reach in.

After my husband Michael died, it took years to get to the point where I could again have reasonably normal friendships where grief didn’t completely overwhelm me (and my friend). And while I knew this woman a little bit before Michael died, I actually got to know her better afterward…when I wasn’t exactly at my best.

Now, I feel like I missed a connection somewhere with regards to this woman.

See, she tried — and several times, if my memory is not mistaken — to reach out to me after Michael died. This wasn’t an easy thing to do considering the depths of my grief, but I was in no shape to be able to appreciate her efforts.

Then, as I got more accustomed to widowhood, I was still withdrawn in many ways. Because of that, I never told her that I did appreciate her efforts. That they did mean something to me, and that partially because of her, I did keep trying and did eventually find a way out of my grief long enough to realize that I still had something worthwhile left to share with others.

This particular lady was someone that I think I could’ve really had a solid and strong friendship with, rather than be on the fringes of each other’s lives, had I been less withdrawn due to grief.

But it didn’t happen, partly because of circumstances…and partly because when she made her overtures of friendship, I wasn’t ready to receive them.

When I was ready, time got away from me. I never circled around and told her I appreciated that she’d tried to reach me, and that she did her best to support me emotionally at a difficult time.

Worse yet, when she needed help (she’d started a GoFundMe appeal recently), I wasn’t aware of it so I couldn’t help. She’d made it public, but I hadn’t gone to look at her Facebook page in a while, and the algorithms Facebook employs didn’t put her posts front and center on my feed…so I flat missed it.

Granted, I didn’t miss it out of malice aforethought. But I did miss it, and the help I could’ve provided wasn’t forthcoming.

All because of missed connections.

Because I’m now mourning her loss, I would like to tell you all something.

Do your best to tell those who help you that you appreciate what they’re doing. Even if it’s hard; even if you’re afraid it’ll sound wrong; even if you don’t really know how to tell them. Do your best, and let them know that you care.

Don’t assume that you’ll have tomorrow to do it, either. Because time has a funny way of getting away from you. And then, you’ll think, “Oh, that was years ago, she won’t care, and anyway, she’s got different people to talk with now…what difference would it make if I told her I appreciated things back then, anyway?”

Maybe it wouldn’t have. But maybe it would. And if it would’ve, who knows what sort of deep friendship might’ve occurred?

Now, all I can do is ask that you tell those you care about that you care about them today. Don’t wait.

And if you want to thank someone for something they did years ago that meant something to you, do it. Even if they don’t remember, or if it wasn’t a big deal to them, do it anyway — because it matters, and it’s good that you know it.

As for my friend, I hope she is being feted in the afterlife by all her friends and loved ones who passed before her. She was a lively, well-read woman with talent and wit and integrity, so I’m sure there are many on the Other Side waiting to greet her. (Probably including my husband, for all I know. It’s the type of thing Michael would’ve enjoyed doing, so I’d like to picture him there.)

Still, as I mourn her loss, I also mourn the loss of possibility. And wish very much that I could go back, just a few days, even, and tell her that I really did appreciate her.

But now, it’s too late.

And I hate that.

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 15, 2017 at 1:44 am

13 Responses

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  1. It’s not your fault, things will get better. Nice advice.

    Sadaf Siddiqi

    June 15, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    • Thanks, Sadaf. I appreciate what you said.

      And I know it’s not. But I wish I had seen that GoFundMe, anyway…

      Barb Caffrey

      June 15, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      • There are good and bad times, think it to be one of them. Take care.

        Sadaf Siddiqi

        June 16, 2017 at 12:23 am

      • You, too, Sadaf. Thanks again for your comment. I truly appreciate it.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm

  2. Barb, I’m sorry you had to deal with this and I’m sorry she passed away. A good life lesson here and a good reminder.

    N. N. Light

    June 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    • Thanks, Mrs. N. (And thank Mr. N., too, just for general principles.) I appreciate your understanding and support.

      Hope all is well with you two.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 15, 2017 at 10:07 pm

  3. I’m sorry to hear you lost a friend; this post is a good reminder to tell loved ones that we care today. I hope that one day soon you’ll remember the good memories with her more than the what-ifs. 🙂


    June 15, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    • Thanks, Nicolle. I appreciate your sympathy and support. 🙂

      BTW, my friend did not have access to good health care, and she was working as hard as she could to rectify that. I don’t want to make this about politics, by any means, but we do need in the US better options for health care for people like my friend, who fall through the cracks and get no help whatsoever. That is not acceptable, nor is it appropriate.

      And yes, it is very, very sad. 😦

      She was a good woman. Very smart, funny, a caring woman, and didn’t deserve to run into so much obstruction and so little help at the end of her life. (I think that is partly why I’m blaming myself so much. I could’ve helped here. I know it.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 15, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      • Yes, it’s sad that some people don’t have (or can’t afford) health care. Politics or no politics, I hope one day everyone will have access to the best health care possible, so that we can all live to our fullest lives without worrying about health. 🙂

        She does sound like a really good person, though sadly sometimes the worst happens to the best of people. I’m not sure if this is a comfort to you (I certainly hope it is, though I’m sorry if it’s not), but I think another way of looking at it is that she posted about GoFundMe on her Facebook, but didn’t send a personal message to make sure everyone received them; she cared about her friends enough not to “disrupt” their lives with her request. I also think she didn’t pressure you into connecting more with her, because she also cared about your wellbeing and let you connect with her at your own pace. While I don’t personally know her, that’s the feeling of her that I get from reading your post and comments. 🙂

        I’m sorry if I came off as presumptuous, and do let me know if I am and I should step back a bit. I just wanted to let you know that I care and hope that you’re able to feel better about it soon. 🙂


        June 15, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      • No, Nicolle, I think you are exactly right.

        Sarah was a good person, and that was how she was — she let people know she cared, but then she wanted you to go to her, rather than the reverse. And she knew how busy my life could be, sometimes, with trying to help my family and getting my editorial business off the ground and then writing whenever I possibly could squeeze a bit of time to do it…

        Anyway, I think you are _exactly_ right. Thank you so much for saying that. 😀 *hugs*

        Barb Caffrey

        June 16, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      • *hugs!* You’re welcome, Barb, and I hope it was of some comfort to you. ❤️


        June 17, 2017 at 1:28 am

      • It definitely was. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        June 20, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      • 😀❤️


        June 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm

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