I wanted to actually send this letter but I can't find an address to send it to. So I have changed nearly all the critical details and am posting it here as a balm to my own feelings. It's sort of a work of fiction, given how much I have changed. But the feelings are real enough.
It’s possible you think of me with hatred. If so, I’m sorry.
I wanted to write to you because I am now being treated for breast cancer and, at some point over the last few weeks, I suddenly remembered our last few messages to each other nearly ten years ago. I remember you said you had had breast cancer. At the time, I didn’t think very deeply about when you meant. But looking back now, I think that at our wedding you were perhaps still being treated? And perhaps you’d had a mastectomy and didn’t tell me?
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I now have a better understanding of what you might have been going through. And I appreciate that you tried not to make a big deal of it at the wedding. That was generous in spirit.
Sadly, while I understand better your messages and I have truer sympathy for what you were going through, your behaviour still rankles. I get, now, that you were scared and angry about your illness. It must have been a very emotional and extremely difficult time for you. But I wish you had told me so we could have talked about it. Holding it in made our wedding so difficult for you. For example, I didn’t like how you kept my 93 year old great aunt waiting in a car while you dawdled over packing and then decided you needed to smoke a cigarette before getting a lift home in the same car. Aunt Pat died three months later. I am just pointing out how old and fragile she was and how she needed consideration as well.
And then, when you called a few weeks later and I was upset with you, you were so angry. That was understandable. But you sent me the most AWFUL messages. I have never received such hate-filled, spiteful messages from anybody else. And not just one… dozens of them! And you still didn’t tell me why you were so upset. You still didn’t tell me about the breast cancer. Four years later, when I finally asked you why you were STILL sending me angry messages, then you told me about it. But by then, things were way too broken for any real communication to take place.
Friendships are hard work. If I had known what you were going through, I like to think I would have offered you proper support, at least from a distance. But I can’t promise. A good friend went through breast cancer a few years ago. At that time, our kids were very young and I wasn’t working while my friend was. So we saw each other intermittently. But I felt too awkward to be really helpful and I didn’t take her family any meals or anything. Now, seeing what other people do, I see that you don’t have to know somebody well to help. You just have to have the will and the kindness. These friends don’t ask. They just do. I am learning a lot.
So I don’t know how you think of me. It has taken this bombshell in my life for me to review things in this way. But I never hated you. I will always wish you well and hope that life is treating you better. And I hope you found somebody who truly deserved the quilt you made.
Sara told me she saw you (from afar) in Clover Park Shops a few years ago. I was so glad to hear you were still alive and hanging out there. I remember being there with you and playing game after game of backgammon in that room behind your father’s law firm.
So now, I too have had a mastectomy and I have had to shave my head. I just feel glad I already had children and glad for my wonderful friends and family who are looking after me so well. I hope you got good support too, when you were sick.
Best wishes for all that you undertake.