The Least We Can Do
Given that there’s not much we can do to palliate death, we want to do what we can. Anything to avoid feeling totally, completely helpless.
Which is why Marit, Tom, and I all feel like turds. I haven’t actually talked to Tom, this is just hearsay.
The least we can do, right? At the very least, we can be present.
And we weren’t.
I took a job and postponed my trip to Minnesota by a week – which is to say, I’d already earmarked this weekend, the funeral, as the time to come up and see Anthony. Even if I had driven up last weekend, I might not have been at the house on Friday afternoon, I might have still been in the car. Which was Marit’s problem – a client that meant she had to leave in the middle of the afternoon, which is when Anthony, in fact, died. And poor Tom was in Germany – on work again – preventing him from being around.
No one has scolded us. No one has said that we’re bad friends. My guess is that, if asked, Stephanie would say that we’re being silly because all three of us try very hard to be present in many other ways. Logically, rationally, we know this. Emotionally, what we tell ourselves is that while we’re doing all of these other things, we’re somehow failing to do the least we can do.
I’m not saying it makes sense. I’m not saying it’s smart. It’s a perfectly understandable, unreasonable response.
It’s not like our being there would have made a difference. Anthony would still be dead. We’re not magic that way. But on a certain level, we wouldn’t have failed to do something. That’s the problem. That’s how it feels.