Earlier this month, I asked my readers to pray for the repose of the soul of HW, a family friend. I’d like to tell you a little more about HW.
HW and his wife lived across the street from my family and I when I was little. They were a few years older than my folks and didn’t have any children and thus doted on me and my sister. After our family moved away, they came to visit us a few times a year at our new home. They always brought a ton of gifts – not expensive stuff, mostly paper and markers and other stuff kids might think is cool. Their visits were one of the few times a year we were allowed to have soda (my mom is a real health nut).
When I was in my mid-teens, they inexplicably stopped speaking to us. No more visits, no more calls, no more cards. I’ve mentioned before that my sister has special needs; communication was cut off just before my sister got sick. So, while my folks missed the W’s, they had a few other things on their minds and didn’t try to rekindle the relationship. And me? Well, I was just a surly teenager.
Years passed. I graduated high school. I went to college and met DH. My sister graduated high school (a minor miracle). I finished college and got a job. I married DH. I went to graduate school. My sister moved into a group home and slowly, ploddingly, improved. I finished graduate school and got a better job.
And last summer, HW and his wife called my parents. It seems that HW had been ill for some time and had been in and out of the hospital. They didn’t offer an explanation for why they did what they did, and we didn’t ask. We were just glad to hear from them again.
I kept nagging myself to send a card to the W’s. For Christmas, I said. Then Christmas flew by and I hadn’t sent it. For Valentine’s, I said. But then Valentine’s passed and I hadn’t sent it. For Easter, I promised. And I delivered. I sent a card with a picture of me and DH a few weeks before Easter. During Holy Week, I received a card with the W’s address as the return address.
HW’s wife, J, said that she was so grateful for the card and that HW would have loved the picture. She wished he could have seen it before he passed away.
I’m kicking myself for not sending the stupid card sooner. I’m also left with a bunch of questions that will never be answered, and a sincere wish that I could have told HW that the past is the past and we should focus on the future. Maybe someday I will be able to tell him that.
In the meantime, whenever this song comes on the radio, I’ll think of him and say a little prayer.