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I am an altruist who has just been punched in my insular face by a situation I let slide until it became a crisis.

I can go for long stretches w/o speaking to my dearest old friends, & it always seemed normal to me.  But last week I called an old friend to wish her a happy birthday & invite her over for an open house.

Her husband died the night b/f I called. Her daughter told me to call back in a few days. When I called back her daughter said my friend had just gotten out of the hospital. It wasn't the stress, but her cancer that put her in the hospital.

I'd meant to call her every day for the last 6 months, but I was always busy w/something else. I feel so awful. I wasn't there for her. I was busy being my insular self, concerned about strangers, & confident my friends and family would be okay.

If I get another chance w/her, I will call her every day to tell her I love her, & I'll drive up to Mendocino to visit her, & I'll invite her over whenever she can come down. I just want her to come through this crisis strong. I promise she will never doubt my love again if she makes it through this terrible time.

I have taken too much for granted. I don't have all the time in the world to be present to those I love & who love me. I've become too good at shutting down & shutting out the personal. In seeking to be open I have become too closed up, too wary of the personal, to the point that I feel I'm living inside myself. I am generous in the abstract, but not in the particulars. For the benefit of all beings sounds big and generous, but for the benefit of you, dear loved one, I have been absent. Please forgive me. I was ignorant and foolish. I thought we would live forever. I never imagined life w/o you. And I want you to stay here with me, & I promise to do better & be here for you.

I am at the age when mortality is an issue. Parents and their friends pass on, then our pals start to go. Then we realize we ourselves have maybe 20 or so years b/f we check out. Just when we start to get the hang of it all.

I will be spending more time w/all my loved ones from now on. I will be present for them, and try to be worthy of their love.

Originally posted to DKOMA on Thu Dec 15, 2011 at 12:54 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Pink Clubhouse.

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