It's All The Good That Won't Come Out Of Me, And How Eventually My Mouth Will Just Turn To Dust, If I Don't Tell You Quick
When Jennifer was really sick and wasn't telling any of her friends about it I'm sure she agonized about it. The old me used to second guess her motives, growing upset at the thought of being kept out of the loop, when I could have done some small bit to comfort her. The old me wanted to be a part of her last memories, to have one of her final memories be of what a good friend I was. The old me was plain and simply selfish. A huge problem of mine, as DeAnn and B. may attest to, is that I always looked at predicaments as if they were mine to solve. It didn't matter if the problem was somebody else's. It eventually became my problem. Yes, Jen was sick. Yes, Jen was in pain. But my dilemma was less about that and more about how much she didn't realize she was hurting by not telling me? My dilemma was about how she was disrespecting.
I wasn't a total asshole. When she did tell me I didn't have these thoughts right away. I, of course, was by her side as much as I could, rotating in shifts with her other friends and with her family. It was only a couple months after the grief subsided that the festering feelings of bitterness finally surfaced. I used to believe that had she told me sooner I might have been able to solve all this like I would stumble on some miracle all the doctors, all the specialists had missed. I honestly blamed her death on her. I suppose people could attribute such thinking to survivor's guilt. In truth, some of that did creep in. I mean--she was a saint compared to me. If wickedness is any kind of barometer of who deserves to die than I would have been taken a long time ago. She didn't deserve to die as much as sometimes I think I don't deserve to be going on when so many good people like Jennifer... and Jackie... and a few others, got taken so early in their lives. I could attribute it to that, but mostly I just like laying blame on people when I don't know how to deal with stress. Who better to blame for someone dying than the dead? Ends justify the means, baby. If she died then she must have done something wrong. She must have done something to deserve it, right?
Being in this zone of moral security where the guilty get punished and the innocent remain unscathed just didn't mesh with Jennifer's case. I guess you could call it my final proof that the world is unfair. On the outside, I couldn't see why she had to die, so I justified in my own head. She didn't ask for my help, she didn't ask for her other friends' help, then she missed out on something that might have "cured" her. She brought it upon herself for being too proud. This was my rationale.
But the truth was and is inoperable means inoperable.
I'm sure in the months between her discovering and it finally coming for her Jen had a lot of time to decide for herself whether or not she wanted to tell me. I'm sure she put some thought in her decision to keep it to herself for as long as she could. It must have been one of the hardest choices she had to make. Also, I think she had more pressing concerns on her mind than how I'd feel about this whole thing. Whatever the case may be, I've slowly been developing over the last two years some understanding of what may have been going through her mind. Some of it may have been to spare us as much anguish as possible. Some of it may have been to keep the negative thoughts away from her as much as possible--if she doesn't acknowledge it then it isn't as real. And some of it may have been being prideful. She was a strong woman in life. She might have felt no one needed to see her weaknesses on display.
There was a reason for her silence. There was a method to her behavior. I may not know the exact reason why she did what she did, but I think I'm beginning to finally accept that she was only looking out for us, in the end. No one knows how to deal with one's own futility, one's own demise. I shouldn't have been critical of when she told me. I should have been just glad she told me at all. I shouldn't have judged her as being somewhat less of a friend for holding onto this big secret. I should have been casting a more critical eye on myself for daring to second guess her.
For all I know she may have been anxious to tell me. I know now, I just know, that she thought what she was doing was a good thing. I know if telling me was the right thing to do for her I would have been among the first she told.
Whatever the case, it couldn't have been easy and I definitely could have made it easier.
I suck. That's pretty much the lesson for the day.