Monday, September 28, 2015

Death of a Foe

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Death of a Foe, The Incomplete Story

We are all touched by death. Our friends. Our family members. Celebrities we've followed for years. And we grieve for them, remember their part in our lives and move on. But what happens when a foe dies? 

This past week I had that experience. I didn't just hear they had died; I learned of their dying and was kept up-to-date on their condition until their death, so I had a week to reflect on a period in my life that was, to say the very least, miserable. And a lot of that misery stemmed from what this person did.

At one time I'd considered this person a friend, so when I discovered they'd been telling half-truths to me and to colleagues, I was devastated. 

"Why are they doing this?" I remember asking. 

They wanted my job. That was the answer. 

Very simple, isn't it? And not uncommon. This sort of thing is what some great stories have been crafted around. It's just not so great when you're the dupe.

But here's why I'm writing this down. This person has been in my head for a week, and not because I've thought of vilifying them, but because I've been saddened during their dying and at their death. And this sadness is more complicated than I imagined. You see, I thought this would be my chance to gloat. Human nature, right? I couldn't. All I could do was feel a sense of loss and incompletion. We should have had one last talk to set things right, to restore a balance in our tiny universe of a relationship. 

Someday I'll write about the death of a foe, and I'll dredge up these feelings. This story about two former friends will never have a satisfying ending for me. If I write it, I may be able to give myself one. 



Quote for the Week: "When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate--the genetic and neural fate--of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death." Oliver Sacks, Author, Neurologist









81 comments:

  1. I'm sorry! What a mixed bag of feelings. I understand how you'd want a chance to talk and set things right.

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  2. <3 that quote. Very profound and a great argument as to why we truly can't be cloned. What you are feeling is completely normal, but also quite humbling. A situation like this is hard, mostly because we're human and loads of 'meism' comes with that. But here, you've fought that off very well. Anyway you slice it, it's an opportunity to reflect on oneself. I think you should smile at yourself. :) (I'm sorry for the loss of this person.)

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    1. Thank you SA. What you've said is exactly right,

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  3. Hi Lee - yes the quote is so true to life and death. How sad for you - that sort of thing knocks you .. and the character can be redeemed by you in a future story ... the suddenness of life happening can totally take us by surprise. All the best - it's not easy coming to terms with things like this - Hilary

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    1. I think I've learned a lot by this experience. Now I need to remember it.

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  4. I'm not sure I've had a foe die, I've had people I really dislike die, I wasn't gloat worthy happy about them dying, but I wasn't sad either, just meh.

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    1. I think it's harder to not finish things when people are really your adversaries. I'm still processing all of this.

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  5. Been there. Sorry to hear of it. You feel like you've been blind sided and wonder why people do such things.

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    1. I think because we were friends who shared a lot together, the betrayal was very difficult for me. Then never settling things between us is hard.

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  6. Oh now sad. it's hard to bury those feelings and feel bad but you know you have to.

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    1. Yes. I'm interested in how I'm processing this. Writing down thoughts is helping.

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  7. It's sad when someone dies and we think of what we should have done, like you said. Writing about it would be a good way to express your feelings and perhaps find peace within yourself. Your story might help others facing similar circumstances. A wonderful quote.

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    1. If any experience helps others, then that experience can't be all bad. I'm going with that idea.

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  8. Yours is a situation that I wish was a rarity, yet, it is not. It is sad that someone has passed and as you stated so well, the chance to bring closure to the situation is gone. Well, not gone, but perhaps not one that can happen in the way it would have been nice to have it happen. Perhaps writing this out in a story form could be great in gving you the closure you neeed.

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    1. I'm beginning to think writers have a lot of these experiences tucked away for their stories. :-)

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  9. The quote says so much. So sorry that you weren't able to set things right. This is a great reminder that we shouldn't leave things unsaid thinking we'll have time later to make them right.

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    1. Absolutely. Mend things and make them right.

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  10. I had a co-worker who I had hard times with die a tragic death. It was hard.

    I can so relate to that quote. I'm so feeling it about my husband.

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    1. I'm sure you miss him all the time. That kind of loss is never something you recover from, you just learn to live with in a new way each day.

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  11. I've been there and it took years to forgive and let go. I'm at the point where I know, should I ever run into my "nemesis" I am prepared to forgive in person. If I never see this person again, at least I know my heart and conscious are clear, that I harbor no anger or resentment and wish them peace.

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    1. Finding your peace with the situation is the probably the best way to deal with it! Glad you're in that place, Bish.

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  12. Your post gives me lots of things to think about. I have some relatives who have not spoken to each other for years. I fear they're going to face a lot of regret in the future for not healing the breach while there is still time.

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    1. Oh yes. That's a given. Hope they can get over whatever their grievances are.

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  13. That's sad. I think even when a foe dies, we're impacted. Maybe it's because of the wrong they did us, or we did them, and how we'll never be able to make any of it better. I do have someone I don't talk to...a family member who I don't want in my life...I find that I can't forgive him for the years of wrong he's done but hopefully I will before the time comes when he's no longer on this earth. Even if I just feel the forgiveness in my heart.

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    1. What you feel in your heart is the best gauge of forgiveness. Hope you can share that with your relative and move on.

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  14. I am sorry you have to go through this... I read your title and went over to your blog thinking about writing stories about the death of a "character foe" in fiction. In real life it is harder, especially when the chance for reconcilation is over. Prayers!

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    1. I know. This is uncharacteristic of me to write such a personal post, but somehow I needed to do that this week.

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  15. This would be a really difficult situation and it's something a lot of people probably don't know how to talk about! I hope you do find some closure.

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    1. I'm getting there. It's going to be a slow process, but there's no alternative now.

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  16. My sympathies. Death is never an easy thing to deal with and this would only add to the complexity of it. Writing is our therapy.

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  17. So sorry to hear about this. Life's events have a way of teaching us so many things, don't they? Though sad, what an opportunity to learn and grow. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

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    1. Unusual for me to do this, but I think I shared it because I know there's a universal in this story that all will recognize.

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  18. So true a qoute, sorry you had to write this post,
    Take care.
    Yvonne.

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  19. I can definitely see why the situation would be complex for your emotions. It's not easy to lose someone (friend or foe) where things have been left unsaid.

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    1. I'm keeping that in mind for the future.

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  20. It's difficult when one hears of someone you used to like but was betrayed by them all...for what? In the end it makes no sense and now they are dying. You have a very good heart and you are thinking with your heart and your brain how you would react. If you outstretched you hand now, they may welcome it and somehow you bot will forgive and be forgiven and right the wrongs. This is how we see it in the movies and we hope it will be that way, the truth is, it wouldn't. Even though this person is dying and will be dead soon does not make them any better than before. Gosh I sound cruel but I don;t want you to feel like there could have been or will be change in some way. I sound so cynical but I have been in your spot. When I started work 24 yrs ago at my present job I befriended a girl who I truly trusted even though there were many signs to the contrary. I was scared for my job because of the way she manipulated the situation and she betrayed me and it hurt. In the end, it backfired on her and another girl working there and they had to leave. Sometimes I think about her because no person is all bad and recalled times she truly did help but then I hear stories and the reality hits home. She is still in a workplace where I hear her name on occasion and I still hear how she will slam my name. I realize she will never change. Neither will a couple of other people I also met. So I look at it like the Indian religion of reincarnation. When we die, whatever ills we did on earth, we try to correct in our next life so we can go towards a higher part..if this makes sense. You did all you could back then by opening your heart, it is the dying person's fault to have stomped on it. I hope I don't sound too cruel or heartless and I hope you find the peace because you did all you could back then.

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    1. Your'e right. No one is all bad and we need to take our share of the blame for anything like this. I sense your very heartfelt response and I appreciate it so much.

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  21. I'm sorry to hear about that. It is complex to have someone you've had a falling out with dying.

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    1. Yes. Unfinished. As if you just needed a down-stroke or a period.

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  22. How sad and painful. I can see why you would feel unfinished and regret not clearing the air. It's unfortunate that this person chose to betray her friends. She was in the wrong, but that doesn't make the situation any easier. I hope you can come to terms with it and be at peace. My thoughts are with you.

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    1. Thanks you, Lori. Writing this has helped. And reading the feedback has definitely helped. Thanks so much.

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  23. Sorry to hear. I can understand how troubling that would be. I have a few enemies like that, or exes who have betrayed and hurt me.

    When someone dies leaving loose ends, those loose ends are troubling, whether they're negative or positive.

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    1. I know. It's the not making things whole that niggles at you.

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  24. "When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled"
    Even foes serve a purpose in our lives. I'm sorry you did not have the opportunity to mend the rift; but it is always possible that the rift could not be fixed. So sad, but also a part of reality. I find it refreshing that you can at least mourn the loss of life, the pain and suffering of another human being. This shows you do not have hatred in your heart for the person, just a disagreeance. I think the hole you feel is more the loss of friendship, the realization that some things just are. I hope you can sometimes remember what made you friends when you think of this person in the future. It will be a kindness to yourself, and perhaps you can let go of the negative feelings.

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    1. Yes. I'm not good at lugging around a lot ill will. It weighs me down. Thanks for the comment, Dolorah!

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  25. Things left unsaid... Why did you do this to me? or, Did you think I didn't know? or, perhaps, It is past me now. And, at the end, We are quits. Go in peace.

    Someone who hurt me rather badly got back in touch after twelve years. Was I still at XX? They were teaching now and fairly happy. It was the chance to say the things I'd mulled over when the hurt was fresh. I replied, I left XX in 2005. I am glad that you are happy now... In the end, it was the best response. One end tied up. Thank you for posting this.

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    1. And that must feel very good. Glad you had the opportunity to connect and move on.

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  26. I think the fact that you didn't gloat shows what a good person you are. I'm sorry you went though all this.

    I enjoy reading Oliver Sacks. I wrote a paper on his 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat' in college.

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    1. Every time I find a great quote, I stumble on interesting people I want to know more about.

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  27. The last time I had a foe (that I know of) was in elementary school. Even then, I couldn't imagine wishing them death. What I wished most of all was to have a change of heart for them and a change of tone between us.
    You have made peace, in a way, with this post, even as you couldn't do it while they lived.

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    1. Isn't that word dramatic? But it seemed so much more appropriate than enemy because that's not exactly how I saw this person. And you're correct. This post has helped. More than I imagined.

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  28. I imagine that would be a very complicated situation. No - if this person was once a friend, gloating would be the wrong emotion to expect. Personally, I think I might feel indifference, especially if this person had not been part of my life for a long time. However, if you were in the loop of people being informed about this individual's illness, I'm guessing there were still social connections between you, even if you were no longer friends.

    I never know how I am going to handle a death. Last year I learned, through social media, about the sudden death of a former colleague. He was not a foe ~ but he wasn't a friend either. Just someone I used to know. I was astonished by how hard it hit me, and how long I sobbed as soon as I heard the news.

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    1. Everyone who touches us leaves a hole when they die. I've come to understand that the hole will never be filled; it will only grow smaller because of distance in time. And I know for sure that when we cry for those who leave us, we're crying a lot for ourselves.

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  29. You're a better woman than I. For anyone who deliberately did me serious harm, I wish a slow agonizing death. (And there's about 10 of them.) For those friends and family I no longer communicate with 'cause they're too hard to deal with, those I just accept. That's just who they are. They can't/won't change, so I put it behind me. I won't be sorry when they're gone though. Yeah, I'm a tough old bird. :P

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    1. And that's why you can write all that scary stuff! I'm staying on your good side! :-)

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  30. I believe, at times like these, all we can do is forgive and hope that their afterlife is filled with less bitterness than this life. People do mean things because their is something lacking in their soul. People who are confident in themselves don't have to knock other people over to feel bigger. So, that considered, mean people should be pitied and not taken too seriously.

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    1. And I used the wrong their up there. I should always proof when I type fast.

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    2. There. Their. Not to worry. I do that so much!

      And I do believe you're right about people who feel the need to hurt others.

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  31. Sometimes the only way to get a satisfying ending is to write it yourself. It's therapeutic.

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  32. A complicated situation. I'd love to see how you handle it in fiction. <3

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    1. Well, if anyone will see it, it will be you! :-)

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  33. Not surprised this caused you to experience such complicated feelings of grief. Even though this person eventually became a foe, they hadn't always been. Sorry you were never able to get the closure you--the both of you, really--needed...

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    1. Thanks, Heather. I guess that's the crux of it. The mending or coming to an understanding will never happen. I'll have to do that for myself.

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  34. I once shared an office space with a woman who was my frenemy. She could be kind, funny, and friendly, but nasty, harsh, and belittling when she was competing with me. Sometimes we barely talked and at other times we went to lunch together. I didn't know which way to feel so many times. I had to cut her from my life once I changed jobs, even though she was curious about what happened with me. Since she's much older than me and I know people who know her, I might hear about her death one day and just not know how to feel about it.

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    1. This was almost exactly my situation. Isn't that interesting, and now here we are writing books and telling about our experiences with people like this. Life is one interesting event after the next.

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  35. I completely understand. I hate it when things are left undone. Truthfully, if I think there's any kind of wedge between me and someone else, it sits at the pit of my stomach until it's resolved.

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    1. If life just weren't so messy! Maybe that's why I like "good-endings" in stories. I feel as if things are tidy.

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  36. That's a rough time, both the loss of the friendship and what could have been. I hope things heal, and that you will never truly have a foe in your life.

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    1. I've never had that experience since. I think once is enough.

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  37. We never know how we'll react to things until they happen to us. I agree, you can't go back and change anything, but you can make some peace with yourself on it. I just watched a lovely movie "Philomena" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philomena_%28film%29 with Judy Dench, based on a true story. I feel like this is a lesson I'm supposed to hear right now between your blog post and that movie, presented to me in less than 24 hours. Thank you, really, for sharing this.

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  38. Hmm. Interesting. When my brother passed, a former friend of mine was there with her mother. My emotions were already stirred up, so I wish she hadn't come. I don't wish her dead, though. Sorry for your loss. Hugs. And sorry they made you miserable when alive.

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  39. I'm sorry for you loss, and the quandary you find yourself in over it.

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  40. I sort of know how you feel, although the circumstances were totally different. It's really difficult to sort through one's feelings, and yes, I too wish we could have spoke about things before he passed away.

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  41. Sorry for your loss. Yet I do know how you feel.

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  42. Death and grief bring about many feelings, some of which take us by surprise. The quote was one to make us all think, thanks for sharing it.

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  43. I am sorry for your loss. Death makes us confront all kinds of emotions we have stored up and often we can't quite predict how we will feel. If you ever do get a chance to write the story you described I hope it will help you restore some balance. :)
    ~Jess

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  44. This post is gorgeously written, but it's sad that it had to come from something like this. I'm sorry you never got the closure you needed with this relationship, and I pray you'll be able to sort through your feelings and find some comfort and peace in all this. :)


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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