“It’s too hard here, “ she said while we paused momentarily from our morning walk. “It’s too hard here and I‘m moving to North Dakota to be with family,” she informed me and quickly changed the subject and asked how we were adjusting to the area.
The Princess and I met Marsha over the summer when we first moved to our new home. We thought that a water aerobics’ class would be just the thing for two, out-of-shape seniors and would give us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to some new people. So, we reluctantly squeezed into our undersized swimsuits and headed out to our community pool to meet some new folks.
And meet new folks we did. But whoever said water aerobics was easy on the body and good for what ails you never injured their sartorius muscle on their hip and walked around with a limp for two months!
Yep, I knew the moment I injured it. Lucky me. I take a water class for gentle exercise and injure myself.
But I digress.
Marsha was one of the lovely individuals that I met in the pool this summer, and I knew from the day I met her that she and I could be good friends over time. So, when I hurt my hip and had to stop class, I felt badly that I wouldn’t be able to develop a friendship with her. I had always hoped that I would run into her in our little community and was altogether delighted when we happened upon each other during a recent morning walk.
“Gosh,” I thought when spotting her walking on the other side of the street. “This is totally cool. I’ll get a chance to tell her why I stopped coming to class and maybe she and I can set up a time to have tea and chat.”
And then she told me that she was leaving town for two months and that when she came back, she was going to put her house on the market and was moving to North Dakota to be with family.
“It’s been hard living here by myself for the past few years. I lost my husband and in-laws all within a short period of time, and it’s just been hard on me living alone.”
Totally bummed out about her impending move and unaware that her husband had passed, I said, “ Oh my gosh, Marsha. I didn’t know your husband had died. When we chatted in the pool this summer, I assumed the activities that you were talking about with your husband were recent, and that he was still alive. I am so sorry.”
What she shared with me next, struck me as so forsaken. She informed me that, “Nobody wants to hear your sob story. I don’t want to be a downer in people’s life, so I just didn’t say anything to you.”
I still can’t get what she said out of my heart. Here’s this lovely, caring individual walking by my home for the past 4 months thinking of dropping by to say, “Hi”, but not doing so because she didn’t want to appear too pushy or forward; or better yet a downer if she shared a sad part of her life.
All I could say was that, “I wished she had dropped in. That she might have been treated to some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. “
And then I asked her, “What’s the worst that could have happened if you knocked on my door? That I said that I had an appointment and couldn’t visit just then?”
“Big deal,” I continued. “We could have set up another time to chat and it would have been great.”
But she was afraid of rejection I’m sure and looking foolish maybe. I don’t know for sure.
I see so many missed opportunities for people to connect and share their lives, but too many individuals are afraid to take that step and put themselves out there because they’re afraid of rejection; afraid of being turned down.
“Your losses are a part of your life, Marsha; a part of you,” I continued. “It’s not a sob story to me, but a part of your life that would be important for me to know if it’s an important part of what makes you, you.”
“Gosh, I’m so sorry that you didn’t stop by; so sorry that you didn’t drop in, “ I told her and gave her my business card with my email and phone number.
“PLEASE, “ I asked of her. ”Do consider calling me. Please think about having tea with me before you leave.”
And she graciously smiled and we parted and went on our way.
I don’t know who I felt sorrier for that day – me for losing what I saw as a future good friend – or she for losing an opportunity of a solid friendship?
Guess it was a tie.
We both lost.
May the holiday season be filled with good food, much laughter and the company of loving family and friends! And I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes.