You Know That Sinking Feeling You Sometimes get In the Pit of Your Stomach?


I have it. In spades. Remember my friend in the city who had a stroke last year? She was improving greatly, to the point that I took her out to lunch, she was able to text me, carry on a reasonable conversation. She needed daily caretakers to help her make lunch and run errands but with lots of therapy, she was making great verbal strides. Yes, she had to retire from her fabulous career but she was comfortable financially , her daughter was out of college and she was contemplating retiring anyway.

However, for the last month plus, closer to two months, I have been unable to reach her. Her home phone still rings but there’s no answering message. I’ve texted her. No response. I’ve called her cell phone but only a pre-recorded message, not her voice. My email to her spit back because it was her @ work address and I guess that got deleted. All these millions of years of emailing, I’ve only ever used her work email address.

I resorted to sending a snail mail letter, asking S to reach out. On the back of the note, I asked her daughter to contact me, if S was unable to read or respond to the letter.


I have to assume this is bad news, that S did either have another stroke that debilitated her or god forbid, she died. I hate to say this but I did search her name for an obituary. Nothing.

I don’t know how to reach the daughter without being a detective (I could find her I suppose) but I do know how to contact her step-son. I don’t know him well tho so what do I say – hey, you don’t know me but I want to know how S is doing? What if they don’t want anyone to know S is not well? Then I put the step-son in an awkward position of having to either ignore me or lie to me?

I can’t help but think the scenario is bad. Really bad. I can’t in good conscience let it go. I have known S since the early 1970s. I get that some families don’t like to talk about illnesses and deal with setbacks differently, but heavens, to leave an old friend worried, I don’t get that.

The question is: what do I do about it? Any thoughts?


10 thoughts on “You Know That Sinking Feeling You Sometimes get In the Pit of Your Stomach?

    1. I thought about that but gosh, if I don’t know, it’d be odd that her former co-workers would. And if I did call them, what would I say? Have you any update on S? I think it might be a violation of her privacy. What if she doesn’t want anyone at the office to know her condition?

  1. I’d wait. There’s obviously a reason no one is calling you. Perhaps your friend’s condition is so worrisome to the family they are on pins and needles caring for her or finding a way to care for her. You might add some stress to that situation by telling them YOU are worried. At this point, your feelings are secondary to what they might be dealing with.

      1. You haven’t erased a friendship. I think her daughter did that and for reasons you may never know.
        In the movies, the PI always slips the doorman a few bucks to get the needed info. Have you considered that route? Doormen know everything.

        1. This does go back to the daughter. True. Perhaps old friends are perceived to be a threat to the daughter’s ability to care for her mother? I don’t know, and as you said, I may never know. It just haunts me that I may not speak to S again.

          No doorman. Live-in super, but no doorman. Drat.

  2. Maybe call the previous hospital. If there was a relapse most likely she would return where her medical history and doctors were available.

  3. Both her former employer & the hospital would be seriously remiss is giving out any information. I know I wouldn’t want personal info about me passed on to anyone who called.

    It sounds as though the daughter has a big chip on her shoulder & has decided for whatever reason to keep you out of the loop (if there even is a loop. Very hurtful for you as her friend and impossible to clear from your mind. Do you have any friends in common?

    I think I’d call the stepson. What the hell?

    1. Agree that no one should offer up information to me. I’m not family.
      We used to have friends in common 40+ years ago but not really now. Her best friend’s husband died last year and decided to move out west to be closer to the children. I don’t know where she went, other out west.
      I’ve decided for the time being to let it be. There’s a reason I’m out of the loop. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe my interest in talking with S often was considered interfering.

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