And everything within me wants to go see her, but I can’t.
You see, her family is not fond of me. They once were, but not anymore. So I am afraid of what could happen if I saw them. If they saw me. If we saw each other.
They’re not the kind of people to be outwardly cruel. It’s not their overt actions that frighten me, it’s the looks. The stares. The awkwardness. The forced conversation. The loudly heard, but never spoken, “What is she doing here?”
And then there’s me. I don’t like her family any more than they like me. So my stares, my forced pretense of “this is all cool” would also be awkward. The whole thing would be very odd.
So I am forced to act contrary to who I really am and I’ll just send a card.
A card to a woman I once loved with all of my heart. A card to a woman I shopped with, went to church with, and I beautifully bonded with when I met her son over 20 years ago.
I thought, for a moment or two, that I should overlook my feelings and think more of hers. But the truth of the matter is that she hasn’t reached out to me much at all since my separation and divorce. Maybe she really doesn't care. And maybe I'm making a lot more of this than is necessary... it wouldn’t be the first time!
But, really, is a card enough?
Not in my book. You see, I'm a real "hospital person." Blame it on my father, Deacon Clanton. He was always visiting folks in the hospital, so going to see people who are sick feels very natural and appropriate to me. I may send a card to a friend or family member in the hospital, but I ALWAYS visit.
But not this time.
This time a card will have to let this brave and loving woman know that I care about her and that I wish her well.
This time, in an effort to keep my joy and my sanity intact and in an effort to make everyone most comfortable, a card will have to do.