On Saturday morning we found out that a friend of the family died on Friday night while out at a church dance. He had a massive heart attack and died in the chapel.
I know everybody dies, but it never fails to shock me when I hear this kind of news. How can someone be here one minute and gone the next? I mean literally gone in a split second - in a heartbeat, as it were.
The news shook me up and saddened me, but it and also made me feel tremendous guilt over something I'm ashamed to admit. It shows a not-so-nice side of me that I don't like myself, but have trouble quelling just the same.
Ron was a sweet sort of dithering fellow in his late 60s who sang in the choir I sang with until I got too pregnant to continue. He was always friendly, chatty and up for a giggle.
But for the last few years I've pretty much ignored him or steered clear of him when I could because of something he said to me after my first miscarriage (a blighted ovum at almost 11 weeks) back in October 2003.
When I came back to choir after an absence of a week or so, I was bombarded with hugs, kind words and support. Ron was one of the first in line to speak with me, but what he said left me cold. He meant well, but he told me that I was lucky because his neighbour's wife had a stillborn child and that was far worse than a miscarriage. I know it was his way of trying to offer me comfort, but at the time I didn't feel lucky for having lost my first baby and I resented him for making me feel like I should.
I loved that baby - I love it still - and I was devastated to think that someone felt I should somehow feel grateful for any part of the horrendous ordeal I'd just been through.
And I never felt the same about Ron after that. I steadfastly clung to that grudge for dear life. In fact, when Thomas died, I had the urge to tell him that he was right - that it did hurt a lot more and it was much worse. I wanted to lash out and hurt him like he'd hurt me. I wanted him to know I hadn't forgotten and never would.
Thank goodness I kept my wits about me the first time I saw the choir after Thomas died. Thank goodness I kept sorrow's rage at bay. Ron didn't really say anything to me that day. He just hugged me and told me he was sorry. I wondered if the pain I saw in his face was because he remembered what he'd said to me almost a year and a half earlier.
I wonder if he regretted it too.
But I didn't give him the benefit of the doubt. I knew he hadn't meant to hurt me when he told me I was lucky. It was a thoughtless comment, sure, but not an intentionally hurtful one. He was only saying what he felt would comfort me - what he hoped would bring me peace.
But I still couldn't let it go.
And now he's gone. I was never mean to him, I never said anything cruel to him or hurt him, but I held that hate in my heart just the same.
What a waste. What a stupid, horrible, awful, foolish waste.
I'm sorry Ron...