Becky Says...

2000-07-08

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Life is Too Short

A couple of days ago, I ended an entry with a comment about life being too short, and suggesting keeping in touch with people. And that made me think of a couple of times the notion of the shortness of life hit me.

About 15 years ago I changed jobs, going from one non-profit agency to another. The first day I was at work at Agency 2, I was given a tour of the building by my boss. He introduced me to a lady doing volunteer work, Ms. P. I recognized her distinctive name, because we had a mutual acquaintance from her hometown. But the building tour was already lagging behind a bit, so I decided to save my anecdote regarding our mutual acquaintance for a day when things were less hectic.

The anecdote I wanted to share was that the acquaintance had played tour guide for me when I visited friends in her town. When she found out where my home was, she asked me to call Ms. P. and give her the acquaintance's regards. Well, I made the call, but got Ms. P.'s housesitter. I left a message that didn't need returning, and felt that I had carried out the acquaintance's request.

I never got the chance to tell her. Ms. P. died unexpectedly, later the same week. Obviously my little story wasn't of critical importance, to me or to her, but that I would never have a chance to tell her stayed with me.

Apparently I needed reminding. A 1999 Christmas greeting from an acquaintance arrived after I had left for my holiday vacation time. I didn't get it till mid-January, when I returned. I was a little too busy getting back into my daily grind to do New Year's greetings, so I put her card in my to-do stack, to remind me to send an Easter greeting, which I did send.

A week or so after Easter, I got a phone call asking if I were the Becky who had sent Anne the card. Upon hearing the "yes," my caller introduced herself as Anne's sister. She was sorry to have to tell me that Anne had died unexpectedly in late January.

The point? Well, if you have an anecdote to tell, or a greeting card to send, do it. Don't wait.

And in case you've wondered, that's why I usually answer e-mail the day I get it.

Text copyright 2000 Becky