Friday, April 14, 2006

I Am in a Quandary!

Edit below!I have had a wonderful friend since I was fourteen, when we moved next door to her family. There is a post about them somewhere, but I can't find it. I just got word that her husband died yesterday.

Ever since I started my wedding flower business I have played in my mind how I would handle it if I ever had a family or good friend's funeral (out of town) when I also had a wedding to do. Luckily, when my parents died, it was not an issue, but I have had to miss other family funerals due to work - and people usually understand. This time is a little different; I am due to leave here Monday with my daughter and her four children for their spring-break vacation. She needs help with the kids, of course. Taking four kids under the age of 12 away for a week is hard for two people, let alone one.


Deep sadness pervades me.....what to do?...what to do? They have not made all the arrangements for the service yet, but it will probably be held on Tuesday. The location is 330 miles in the opposite direction to our trip, so I can't just stop off on the way or make a small detour. Time, distance and money are in short supply. I know that when I am able to speak to her about it, she will tell me to go on the trip and not worry about it. She has a large extended family who will all be in attendence, so it isn't as though she needs me. Yet, I feel so down and out. Any advice?

Thanks to all of you who have given excellent and caring advice. I just spoke with my friend, and she agrees with most of you that I will be far more valuable to her in 4-5-6 weeks than I would be now. Her exact words were, "Don't give it another thought. I would prefer to see you when we have more quality time together than now, when I will be so busy with family and local friends." I feel better about my decision now, and I do thank you for your help and comments.

18 comments:

poopie said...

I would call her and explain what's up, making plans to get together with her after the dust settles and the crowd is gone. That's when she'll REALLY need you! Enjoy that vacation girl.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You send a nice note explaining, and she is sure to forgive because she knows you love her.

vanx said...

Hmmm--under the circumstances there is something to be said for going on the trip and spending time with your friend when she may need it more in a few weeks. This seem like a sensible choice, but I know that doesn't make it easy.

bornfool said...

That's tough, my friend. My opinion is you have to continue with your trip as planned. Send your condolences in the best way you know how, and continue on. I know it's a terrible decision to have to make.

Wendy said...

Go to the funeral. I know all the prevailing wisdom -- her family is there, she is swamped with people, she would appreciate the visit later after everyone has gone and she feels forgotten, you have to help with the childen, the vacation -- but there is no substitute for the Person Who Came Who Didn't Have To. I'm going to spare you all the stories about looking up and seeing a face there who Didn't Have To be there. And some of these memories are 30-40 years old. Like the time my best friend from childhood came -- with her squirming one-year-old -- to the funeral of my aunt/mother. My friend flew 1,300 miles, the last part of it on a tiny commuter plane in a storm. She had very little money. She came because of love, and even more important -- loyalty.
Or, more recently, when I was 55 and I remarried (for a humiliating 4th time) in a tiny town in Minnesota. I didn't invite my friends because ... who could trust my choices? And it was 2,500 miles from where most of them lived...and it was July, on the prairie, and there were no motels, etc. But one of them called another and another, and the night before the wedding, they began to trickle in, in their rented cars, and their Super 8 motel rooms 40 miles away, and 2.5 hours from the airport ...

Don't listen to self-nurturing kinds of advice or "common sense" -- common sense is a second-rate source of wisdom and rarely registers on the compassion meter.

Weary Hag said...

Judy, a quandry indeed.

I thought about this for a moment, assuming your position - and I have one suggestion that might help to ease your stress-level some.

Your writing is impeccable. You have always been able to draw me into situations and to instill a strong sense of exactly what you're feeling; your sadness, anxieties, elation, etc.

I realize this would only be 'second' to being there for your friend, but I know in my heart of hearts that you could sum up your emotions in a finely written, personal letter. Tucked inside of a sympathy card - it would be readily received and greatly appreciated, I'm sure.

You're such a caring person. It shows in your writings and I'm sure it would be felt in your friend's aching heart.

If mailing-time is an issue, go the extra mile and Fed-Ex it overnight. It'll be worth the money.

And finally, go and enjoy your trip.

PI said...

It is more important to be a good, supportive friend in the years to come than to attend the funeral.
I fractured my leg just before my mother died in another country and my brother died a few days later so I missed both their funerals but as they are always with me I could bear it.
This is just my opinion.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I would try to talk with her ASAP, cause that will make the difference in how you feel and in her knowing you would be there if you could. So sorry for the loss and for the dilemma, too, Judy.

cyndy said...

Michele sent me. It has been my experience, from losing both my parents, that the immediate funeral time is one of such stress and emotional taxing, that even when you have so much support, you don't remember all of it. I believe that the long term, when the funeral is over, the flowers have wilted and everyone is on with their lives, is when people need their friends the most.
She will understand and she will need you more later than she does this moment in time. Just my 2 cents worth.

surcie said...

Wow. That's tough. I'd feel stuck, too. I really don't have advice. Which choice do you have the most peace about doing? Do that.

margalit said...

That's a difficult situation. I guess I'd tell you to go on your planned trip, but arrange a second trip to see your friend in a week or two, when the crowds have gone and she still needs comforting.

Hope this helps. Here from Michele

Plumkrazzee said...

I would make sure to let her know that after the dust settles you'd like to come and spend the day with her. Some one on one, friend to friend. That would mean more to her than simply showing your face in a crowd of so many others.....I've done this lots of times, and I know that it is always genuinely appreciated. It seems like after a period of time passes, people drift away, and that is when life gets lonely and the grief is harder to deal with it. She'd probably welcome a visit from you, later on when everyone else has gone.

Lisa said...

judy, I'm glad to see you got such great advice and spoke with your friend. And its SO true... the most difficult time is when the funeral is over, and life goes on... I'm glad you feel good about your decision! Michele sent me today

Star said...

I'm glad you have a decision you can feel good about. Had I been more timely I would have suggested the same.

srp said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's husband. You received great advice. Enjoy your grandchildren and your daughter this week, making lots of memories. Everyone is right, when the shock wears off and the day-to-day life settles back in; that will be the time you are most needed.

T. said...

I am sorry to hear of the loss. I realize I may be late to chime in on this, but it strikes a cord. My almost five year old son died suddenly this past October. My best friend lives 3000 kms away from me. When I phoned to tell her of the loss she wanted to fly to the funeral. But I have a large family and my son had a lot of friends. I knew I wouldn't be able to spend a lot of time with her. So she came four weeks later and spent ten days with me. While I was walking around in a fog of pain, those ten days helped pull me thru. And I will treasure that visit always.

Just a thought.

Kim said...

My comment is a little late, but after my dad died, it wasn't the immediate aftermath that was so hard, it was weeks later when I realized that my life would never be the same again.

Your friend will need support, much more support after everyone else goes back to their lives and she is trying to cope with how her life has changed.

That is when she will need you the most.

Amanda Cowan said...

So So sorry to hear about your friends' husband, and glad to hear that you've reached a solution that will work for everyone involved. I agree with you all that in a few weeks time some of that initial shock will have worn off and she'll need so much of your support then. I am sure she is grateful for your even considering cancelling your vacation for her.