Pam Crenshaw was a bright light in the lives of all those she loved and who loved her. She always made me feel worthy and beautiful in countless ways. And even when I couldn’t, she embraced with love and understanding the unique details that make me, me. She was sweet like caramel brownies topped with a swirl of caramel cream cheese frosting. She was lovely. And she was my true friend.
It has been years now since breast cancer sneaked in like a stinking thief in the dark of night, ravaged her body, and then absconded with her spirit and her light. On Thursday, we had talked at great length and she was still fighting for her life. She was hospitalized on Friday. And by that Saturday, she was taken.
I remember clearly that Saturday evening when I got the call that she had died. My reaction was stunningly immediate. Even after all these years, I can still, to this day, feel how my heart broke: As I dropped to the floor in a heap and curled up tightly into the fetal position, it felt like a very large, angry man had kicked me swiftly and violently in the very center of my being, with all the force his large body could muster.
Within a year of her death, her brother brought together about four of her closest friends. Most of us were unacquainted with each other, but it was clear that some of us had loved her dearly.
As the years have gone by and my memories have softened and faded, I now only vividly remember two things about that gathering:
- How angry and shocked we all were to lose the bright light that was Pam; AND
- That woman, who by her own proclamation called herself a close “friend” of Pam, BUT had only learned of my friend’s death SIX months after the fact when she finally decided to pick up a freaking phone and call Pam to check in AND, get this, how she wanted me to drive with her six hours to visit Pam’s grave
Huh! Wait… Did I forget to mention: Pam had been battling breast cancer? Cancer! The Big C!
OK! Let me pause to take a moment to inhale and exhale deeply… because… because this r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s-n-e-s-s still makes my scalp itch and my armpits very hot and sweaty. Yes, I am still disgusted by that woman, and I am sadden by the drought of real, meaningful connections then and now.
Like androids in a Sci-Fi movie, our smartphones are now a tightly integrated extension of our physical self. In the west, the modern person cannot even take a shit without the damn thing tightly clutched in one hand or perched precariously close by. (Eww) And still too many of us cry we cannot find time to call those that should matter.
It seems that while our phones were getting smarter, we got dumber and dumber!
We have an exhausting number of social media platforms today. Exhausting! We collect meaningless “friends” on one. We pin like a mad person things we will never cook or make, places we will never visit, and things we will never buy on another. We chat unintelligibly in 140 characters or less on the next. We snap and over share photos on the go of the minutiae of our lives and, regrettably, our scantily-clad or naked bodies on all of them — Hey, another selfie, anyone?! How about a butt shot?!
And while everybody is following everyone and no one, our relationships are as shallow as a puddle on a busy street with very good drainage after a light rain. Instead of connected, we are starved for true friendship, unable to converse with any depth in our first language, and without any true concept of shame.
Today, there are many lines of “communications” open, but we are distracted, unable to connect in any real, genuine way. All that can be heard on both ends is frantic tapping noises or the sound of neglect, nada.
We live in an age where we humans have amassed an impressive amount of knowledge about everything and nothing. BUT we are, sorrowfully, still incapable of working our way to world peace; stopping ourselves from creating and/or living in our own personal, and often secret, worlds of hell; or showing up and staying for those we claim we love.
Read my poem I Wonder Why.
Call to action: Share in the comments below how you feel about the current state of disconnect in our world day? Or, if you are one of the few who is blessed with real connections, then share how being connected adds value to your life?
Oh, and when you’re done, how about picking up the phone and CALLING — not texting or updating your status — someone who matters!