Wednesday, May 16, 2007

But I Keep Thinking Something's Bound to Go Wrong

A friend of mine had a little scare today. She called her boyfriend a couple of times last night and his number was busy. She e-mailed him today, and he didn't respond. After his phone was busy again today, she started to worry. It was almost 24 hours without a response. Finally, another friend suggested that there might be a problem with his internet/phone connection. She was absolutely right, and once my friend's boyfriend got his connection back and read some of the frantic e-mails, he called her right away to make sure she knew he was okay. Later, we all joked about the fact that the only reasonable explanation we could think of for him not contacting her, was that he was dead. What else could it be? Both my friend and I have had a worst case scenario happen in our lives, so we have a tendency to assume the worst when given the chance.

The whole incident also got me thinking about my last words with people. Usually, I had no idea I would never speak to that person again. I was ten when my mom died. She woke me up for school and her face was the strangest shade of gray. I remember telling her she didn't look well, and that she should call in sick to work. She told me she didn't have enough sick time left. I have no idea what I said to her after that. Did I tell her I loved her? Did I whine about how much I hated to wake-up? I don't know. She had a stroke on her way to work and I never saw her again.

I think it's the reason I make sure to tell people how I feel about them while they're around. (unless, of course, if I don't like them. Then I try to keep my big yap shut) I don't ever want to have those regrets with anyone else.

The last time I saw my ex-boyfriend Neal, he was sneaking out of his backyard.

"Hey, Neal," I said. He had a bundle of wood under his arm. We had been breaking-up for the last two months and I was moving back to Iowa at the beginning of March.

"Hey. We're having a fire at Charles', and since I didn't see any lights on, I figured it was safe to stop by." He had been staying at his friend Charles' house since he realized he couldn't talk me into staying with him.

"Yeah. My grandma died today. I've been all freaked-out and wandering around the city..." Neal dropped the firewood and gave me a hug.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I can't stay, though. It's too hard to be around you when I know you're leaving me."

"You've left me plenty of times before, too."

"Yeah, but I always came back. I know you. Once you get your mind set on something, you won't change it."

"I'm sorry," I said.

"Yeah, me too." And he picked-up the bundle of wood and went to his party. The next day, he put all of his stuff into his backpack and hitched his way up the Coast to his dad's house in Seattle. That was the last time I really ever spoke to Neal. I was just glad that I used my last words to apologize to him.


Poptart said...

I love your labels. You are the best.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

I love this. Makes me want to think and write about it,

michelle said...

I know how you feel. The last time I saw my Dad when he was still coherent and could understand I was angry with him. Angry because he wasn't trying, he wasn't helping himself, he wasn't as responsive as I wanted him to be or thought he should. I didn't know then that he was on his way out for good. The next time I saw him he was hours from death and probably didn't know I was there. I still apologised profusely in his ear for being angry and told him I would take it all back if he'd just wake up and talk to me. He never did and I can't help feeling guilty about that.

Mr Atrocity said...

I never know if it's worse not to know that your last words to someone will be the last and then to have regrets or whether the choice of words that you know will be the last things you say have come out right.

Margaret said...

This is a really touching post. I'm sorry about your mom.

booda baby said...

That's just damned good policy and when you're in charge of your own Ministry, I hope you'll make it some kind of law. (The kind without penalties, except our own feely badness.) Maybe we can't get it right every time, but it sure as hell doesn't hurt to try.

notfainthearted said...

I agree with Poptart...great labels!

Sorry to hear about your mom. It's never easy to lose a parent but at age 10 it particularly sucks.

great post.

Babybull40 said...

we all have had stuff happen in ur lives and one thing that stands out is before my G'ma passed away.. I wish I had told her more often that I loved her.. I think she knew.. but not telling someone how you feel can leave some regrets or guilt.. it's good you said that to Neal.. I hope he is happy wherever he is...

Rachel said...

My grandfather passed away when I was 6 years old. Right before his passing he had taken all of his grandchildren for a ride in his log truck. Everyone but me. He ran out of time and I got so upset I started to cry and ran into the house without letting him explain.
I never saw him alive again and I regret that I never got to forgive him before he passed.

Dagromm said...

Nice story. I can't say that I've had a lot of "last words" experiences. I've certainly spoken last words to those that I would never see again (moving, death, etc.) but I don't remember any of them. I just hope that doesn't mean that I did it poorly. I'd hate to think that.

Tara said...

I'm glad I was able to tell my dad that I loved him before he died. He had been in the hospital numerous times, mostly because he would neglect his diabetes. So I was uncomfortable around him and mad at how he had his head in the sand so many times. It took a lot to tell him I loved him, but I did.

fringes said...

Powerful post. Sorry about your mom. I'm out of words.

(I liked your subject tag)

l.b. said...

I think I needed to read a message like yours today. Thank you.

Brando said...

Just a great post. That picture is terrific.

evil-e said...

A very thought-provoking post. I felt the same way last summer when my Uncle died, I wish I could have said goodbye.


Churlita said...




I wish I'd think before I wrote sometimes.


I'm sure he knew you were angry because you cared about him.

Mr Atrocity,

It's true. There would be a lot of pressure and I'm not generally good under pressure.


It's okay. I wasn't feeling morose or sad. I was just contemplating the things that come up with abandonment issues - both good and bad.

Booda Baby,

Can you imagine the kind of freaks my ministry would include?

Not Faint hearted,


Churlita said...


You're right.

I hope he's happy too. He called a guy in town once to see if the guy would put him up if he moved to Iowa City. At the time I was still married and once the guy told him that, he decided he didn't want to move here again afterall.


You were six. I'm sure your grandpa knew it was all okay.


I'm sure most people are fine about it. I'm just more aware because of past mistakes.


Sometimes it's just as helpful for us as it is for them.


Thank you.


I'm glad it worked for you.


You can't have enough drunk, poker playing photos, can you?


Too bad you can't go back and fix things.