One particular Harry Potter scene brought my cousin to the foreground of my thoughts. I just made a quick call to London to check in on him. It turns out that he has been on dialysis since February. As he told me this, my brain had to quickly reconstruct when our stories last crossed.
My cousin has been the recipient of 2 kidney transplants. The current kidney has been going strong for 20 years, but had started to fail the last few times I spoke with him. When I visited last September, we sat for an hour and things were OK. His creatinine was elevated but stable and they had put in a shunt, in case they had to do dialysis.
For me it’s like being dropped back into a story that I haven’t experienced in a while. Mostly, I notice this when I talk to my dad. If we go a few weeks without talking on the phone, he starts giving me updates on people and places and I need a second to plug back into the memories and situations that are going on.
I have colleagues in Australia that use the term “tyranny of distance” to describe the difficulty in having quality communication with a headquarters that was 16 times zones away. For me, the tyranny of distance has a time component as well. I find that if I don’t stay engaged with people who are 2,000 to 5,000 miles away, the time just gets away from me and I forget check in and become disengaged. Next thing I know months and years have gone by since I have spoken to friends and family. Facebook makes it easier to keep tabs, but it doesn’t create quality conversations and memories.
So, for you, which dear relative has it been the longest since you have spoken to?