I know they’re out in the world, but it nevertheless appalls me when I encounter them. I am disappointed in their lack of humanity, their absolute certainty that their own priorities and things to which they feel entitled matter more than the anyone or anything else. The selfish and mean ones demand consideration from the rest of us for any tiny speed bump in their journey, yet refuse to give any consideration for the most monumental explosions in other people’s lives: death, life-threatening illness, birth, etc.
Mean people, those who just can’t be nice, who spend their time spewing thorns and littering the world with their particular brand of spite and anger.
The day after my husband’s father died, the ex-wife texted me looking for her alimony check. When I politely declined to engage in said discussion with her and opined that my husband had a few other things on his mind, she promptly e-mailed my husband with the message that she was oh-so-sorry for his loss and didn’t want to bother him at this time, but she had no choice because I was being a meanie and wouldn’t give her satisfaction.
Aside from the fact that she was looking for information pertaining to something about which I had no knowledge (nor do I want any as it’s … wait for it … alimony paid by one former spouse to another and, therefore, none of my business), I have a question: what kind of person does that? It’s a rhetorical question, nevertheless one to which I think we all know the answer. A mean person. An inconsiderate person. A callous person. A selfish person.
I’m sure many of us have forgotten to pay a bill that was due the day a loved one died, or perhaps even sometime during the week after. Even if a mortgage payment were missed, I’m pretty sure the lender would understand why and make an exception to the late payment rule. Perhaps a credit card company probably would do the same. As much as we might love to malign them for unscrupulous business practices, the reality is that large corporations have humans working the phones and collections desks, and most people have compassion and understanding for their fellow human beings. Because we’re all pretty much in the same boat.
We’ve all either got parents or had them at some point in our lives. If we’ve lost them, we have grieved. If we still have them, we fear the day they leave us. We’ve all got loved ones: parents, children, friends, spouses, relatives. The death of someone we love, perhaps someone on whom we depend, someone who makes us smile and whom we want to be around, can be, and often is, devastating, especially when it is unexpected, sudden.
It is heartbreaking to me that anyone – especially someone with whom my husband shared nearly twenty years of his life and with whom he raised two children – would blunder so miserably and show not even a shred of compassion for him in the most human moment of losing his father. I am angry and disappointed. While my knee-jerk reaction is I hope she doesn’t seek any consideration from either Ernie Hemingway or me when she loses her parents because she wouldn’t deserve it, I know that compassion is my truth. No matter what she’s done, no matter how mean she may be, I will feel for her and I will have sympathy for her loss.