Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The other day I was Googling names of people I used to know but have for one reason or another lost track of, and I found the obituary for one of them. He died last year, of a cancer he had to deal with for most of his adult life. It finally got him.

This was a man I had known since my teen years, we met in high school and managed to keep in touch---off and on---over several decades. It was no accident that I lost track of him though, I simply stopped writing to him because I was offended by something he said in the last email I received from him (in reference to my previous email), to wit: "...postmenopausal grumpy old woman rant...".

I reacted rather strongly to that comment partly because it wasn't true, I thought I was being good-natured and humourous not ranting or grumpy. You know how email is, you can sometimes read into it a tone or emotion that isn't really there. But the part that really got to me was that I was just tired of men blaming women for their supposedly hormonal reactions to things. And to hear it from someone I counted as a friend and thought was fairly enlightened about such things, well, I didn't like it.

All my pre-menopausal adult life I was hearing men blame any kind of female reaction to things that they did not like on their rampant female hormones. Clearly, women are completely subject to their hormones and should not be taken seriously! And now, now that I am post-menopausal and have no hormones worth ranting about, now I am being castigated for my lack thereof? Damned if I have 'em, damned if I don't!

Even more ironically, this man who was accusing me of being a postmenopausal grumpy old woman was hopped up on testosterone injections as part of the treatment for his cancer. If anyone was being run by his/her hormones, it was him!

I debated writing back to him and explaining all that to him, but decided in the end not to; the misunderstanding in my view stemmed from trying to communicate by email so why would I think that yet another email would somehow resolve the problem?

I lived in Vancouver at the time and he lived in Toronto. A few years later I moved to Toronto and again debated getting in touch with him, but I'd go through the whole scenario in my head and then think that he was just as likely to respond negatively as positively to any effort on my part, so I didn't. You know how it is, the longer you leave that sort of thing go, the harder it is to follow up on it.

Now he is dead.

I feel regret, but I am not sure what exactly I regret. Not having sorted it all out? The lost years of contact? Having stopped a relationship for a petty reason? Sadness over his death? The finality of never having another chance? I don't know.

He wasn't a bad person, he certainly was an interesting person, and I knew he had little chance of living to great old age because his health was precarious. Reading his obituary, I understand that he had many good friends and he is sorely missed. He added good things to many people's lives, even to mine. What can I say.


20th Century Woman said...

Since death ends all possibility of contact, I think the death of anyone one has known well always leaves regret of some kind. When your friend was alive there was always the choice -- to reconnect or not. Now the choice is made for good. That's the difficulty.

I spent some time reading your previous post about acid reflux, which I suffer from big time. I have too much to say for a comment, but I will say that for me there are 2 things that are fatal: over-eating and eating a high fat meal. If I eat a light meal with no fat I do not get reflux. As you say, that eliminates everything nice.

And thanks for the tip about BC campgrounds. I am going to check them out online. I'm glad to hear that you have had good luck parking overnight in rest areas. All the books say don't do it, but sometimes we might have to.

Wisewebwoman said...

Yes, it is weird, that, Annie but I;m with you on it. It is hard to jump around that kind of male privilege without more target practice from yer man. And he obviously, did not throw further thought into what might have kept you distant from him.
I'm in that kind of reflective mood myself lately, a bit broody, but not in the new sense of the word being post-m 'n all.LOL.

Barbara Anne said...

Hi Anne,

As has been said, the door of choice to contact him or not has been closed. It has to be said that he could have contacted you to find out what was going on, too. Friendship is a two way street, both keep it going, but either one can bridge a silence.

If you wish to honor the decades of friendship you and he shared, perhaps you can make a donation in his memory to some cause or organization you both supported?

May you be at peace with this loss.


Annie said...

20CW you're welcome, I envy you the trip. I avoided rest areas for a long time because of what they say about them, but frankly, I trust the big trucks so I feel safe when they are there. My only problem with rest areas is the bright lights and the noise of the trucks running through the night. But in a pinch a rest area works. It gets you off the road for a bit of a rest.

Annie said...

WWW, I think he was a little angry when he wrote that, so I am not sure whether he cared if he pushed me away. But we'll never know. I think I'm over it now, I just had to write it down.

Annie said...

Hi Barbara, thanks for that. One learns as one ages that friends are precious. Sometimes though they are not to be held onto but enjoyed for the time being.