Someone died on Tuesday. The news travelled fast over Facebook, as bad news tends to do. I cried. All day I cried deep, sobbing, tearing me apart tears.
She lived over the road. I adored her. At five years old, she was my best friend. She was older and wiser and more beautiful and could do perfect handstands. She taught me to rollerskate and we swore we would become famous.
We grew older and apart. She was older and wiser and more beautiful and still did perfect handstands. She moved over the back fence. She went to high school. We lost touch for over twenty years.
Facebook reconnected us in that strange disconnected way. A friend request, a quick message, a voyeuristic view into each other’s lives. A distant observation that perhaps things weren’t all ok. Wall messages of support from friends. Chinese whispers of the C word.
Three years ago she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The doctors would later tell her that it was incurable. For three years she battled the doctors and the disease, until finally and fatally, cancer beat her body, leaving her two young children without a mummy.
I have been walking around feeling the heaviness of grief in the pit of my stomach. But I don’t feel that I deserve to grieve for her. What right do I have to grieve? I have no claim of friendship; we hadn’t been friends for over twenty years. What right do I have to grieve when two babies have lost their mother; when parents have lost their daughter; when a husband has lost his wife?
I feel like my grief is so selfish. I’ve lost nothing, she’s lost everything. Is it the sadness over the idea of leaving my own three boys without a mummy? Perhaps even a little bit of relief? It wasn’t me. Nothing like a healthy dose of guilt to make grief more complicated.
I’m sure I need to allow myself to grieve for this person who once meant so much to me. I’m just not sure how to move through this when I barely feel qualified to cry.
Donate to the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation HERE.