Guilt Feelings in Losing Touch

Yesterday, I became aware that a friend, Clay, was admitted to the hospital suddenly to have major heart surgery. I had been communicating with Clay for many years, but mostly now through Facebook. He had stopped using email. Apparently he sends and receives texts instead … but that leaves me out because I block texting on my mobile device because I find texting both expensive and intrusive. (What I like about email is that I can read and reply to it on my schedule.)

I have always felt that Facebook is a way to observe what your family and friends are doing, but is not a way to discuss news, share information about feelings and frustrations, and so forth, the way friends talk when they’re together.

But since Clay only seems to use Facebook and texting as his primary means of communication these days, I comment from time to time on his Facebook posts to let him know that I care and am thinking about him. It’s not the same, but at least that form of contact lets him know that I appreciate and care about him.

Then he goes into surgery… and his predicament caused me to think about other friends who I haven’t communicated with as much as I once did, and even a few who have dropped out of my life.

I feel badly about that. Like everyone else, there are times when I have let my personal busy-life overtake everything else. It’s not an excuse, but a reality — I work full-time in a demanding job. I do a lot of caregiving for my spouse who requires a lot of attention. In the little free time that I have, I take LOLITS grocery shopping and do odd-jobs for them.

My focus on communication when I write email or make phone calls is mostly with my large family. As it should be. My family is important to me and I love them. Keeping in touch regularly is important to me. However, I do not have nearly as much time to keep in touch with friends as I would like.

I recognize that it is a two-way street. I appreciate that some of my friends touch base with me when they haven’t heard from me in a while. “S”, my biker buddy from up North, who is snowbirding down south, is an example. My friend Bama (David) also checks in with me from time to time. Unlike “S” who reads this blog to find out what I’m up to, Bama doesn’t. I have a few other friends who are like that — they prefer the good old-fashioned phone chat or email conversation.

I give a shout-out to my friend OBMIT who writes every day. He’s a great friend, and though we have not met in person, we have learned a great deal about one another and our shared passion for wearing boots. But more than that… shared values.

I say that keeping in touch is a two-way street for another reason. I once had a close friend, AZ, who at one point I referred to as a “best friend,” who literally dropped out of my life. I tried to keep in touch via email, but the replies for the past two years have blown me off. I truly regret losing such a close friendship with AZ, but he has sent a clear message that he isn’t interested in my friendship anymore.

Anyway, with my friend Clay’s situation bringing the matter to the forefront, I am trying again to keep in more frequent touch with those I care about, admire, and appreciate. I encourage you to do the same. Write an email. Make a phone call. Keep in touch … because …

Life is short: too damn short.