It’s been well over a year since I posted about my friends illness. And, much to everyone’s surprise, she lasted a lot longer than anyone thought, even her doctors. Still, cancer is so often a matter of how much time you have left before it inevitably takes you, which for my friend, happened last week. This post isn’t about her, though, or what an amazingly kind and generous and thoughtful person she was. This isn’t about the light she brought to the world, and how much she will be missed. This post is about the assholes who make her passing all about them.
We got the news that she was in the hospital a few weeks ago. Her cancer was back, and it was bad. She was here until they could procure a place in hospice, having her pain managed as best they could. Immediately after the announcement email went out, my colleagues when running out the door to go over to the private room where this woman and her family were. I imagine them fighting for attention, slapping at each other like Cinderella’s step sisters.
When we got the news that she finally passed, it came the heels of more bad news. The mother of another coworker from the same department had a massive aneurysm and passed away unexpectedly. Not long after, our resident grief tourist announced they’d need the afternoon off to attend this funeral too. A funeral for a woman they’d never met, but who was the mother of a casual work acquaintance, somehow warranted their presence. I marveled at the arrogance that must’ve gone into that rational. I imagine the look of bewilderment on the poor daughter’s face as she had to deal with these relative strangers coopting her family’s fresh grief, choking back tears and confusion to be marginally polite to these people.