How to Lose a Friend Without Knowing It

April 16, 2012 at 6:13 am 14 comments



I read somewhere that when we are born, we sign up for death. At some point, we know we’re going to die. We just don’t know when. Perhaps that’s the way it should be. For one thing, it helps us live in the moment. For another, it gives us the extra push to tell people that they matter before it’s too late.

I was sorting old stuff from work when I came across this card with the picture of a dog looking out at the ocean. It was from R. In it, he said that he was leaving the company for good. It was around the time our company was taken over by another from the East Coast. He wrote:

Hi P.,

I’ll miss you and friends from work, but not forget our friendship, lunches, and Bart rides. I finally got my lay off, so now I’m free. I decided I wanted this package really bad, so I retired and spent the days waiting – out to lunch and shopping. They finally realized that I wasn’t going to do any work for the new company. I hope they don’t try to reduce the number of weeks pay per year for later rounds of lay offs. I bet they try, that’s one reason I wanted as soon as possible. I hope your plans will work out.

It’s been a long trip, from B. [our former manager] until today. I think I would have taken an early exit if I had known it was not going to get any better. From M. [our former division head] it was all downhill. We became a tiny cog in the machine! Best wishes to you P. It’s a small Bay Area and I think our paths will cross again. I hope so.

Your friend, R πŸ™‚


I won’t forget R. When I reported for work as a new member of their team, he was the first to extend his hand in greeting to welcome me.

I remember him sharing his mother’s cookies that she sent during the holidays which were really good. “Mom thinks I’m still her little boy,” he laughed.

W. soon joined the team, and the three of us became fast friends. In the beginning, they found my personality a little uptight. I was the one who always worried about work and meeting deadlines. They helped me relax by joining them for two-hour lunches at the nearby bar drinking beer and playing pinball. It was a miracle that we survived those months without being fired.

It was after I moved to another project that the company was bought. W. was fired shortly therafter for undisclosed reasons.

After we parted ways, I lost contact with R. On the other hand, W. and I have remained in touch although occasionally. I know that he got his act together, moved to Arizona, and married his longtime girlfriend.

I thought of calling R. when I found the card. I wanted to know how he was doing. But I kept on postponing it. Little did I know that it would be too late.

A week ago, I got a call from W. It must have been two years since we last talked. I asked him if he had heard from R. I told him that it’d be nice if the three of us could get together sometime.

“I’m sorry to tell you,” he said, “but he died recently of pancreatic cancer. The same disease that killed Steve Jobs.”

For a moment, I was silent. It was the news that i didn’t expect.

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14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. diane  |  April 17, 2012 at 12:45 am

    I think we are in the same boat now. I recently lost a friend too. When you found the card, it was perhaps a sign.

    Your friend is in a better place now.

    • 2. plaridel  |  April 18, 2012 at 11:37 am


      it must be a sign, indeed. the fact that our common friend called out of the blue confirmed it.

  • 3. robin  |  April 17, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Bummer! You can console yourself by thinking he is in a better place now.

    • 4. plaridel  |  April 18, 2012 at 11:41 am


      who would have thought? i could have called him before he died, but i didn’t. 😦

  • 5. AC  |  April 17, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Awwwww… 😦

    • 6. plaridel  |  April 18, 2012 at 11:42 am


      yeah, it’s sad. 😦

  • 7. Mars  |  April 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    that’s sad…and for me the saddest way of losing a friend 😦

    • 8. plaridel  |  April 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm


      it must have been a blessing in disguise that i didn’t know beforehand. i’m not good at saying goodbye.

  • 9. sub  |  May 17, 2012 at 1:18 am

    na-sad naman ako… 😦 😦 😦

  • 10. Dale  |  February 17, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    I feel you, Plaridel. My friend Roxanne and I had lost touch and tried to reconnect but then she got sick and I was no longer in her circle. So much regret.

    • 11. plaridel  |  February 17, 2021 at 6:56 pm


      such is life.

      • 12. Dale  |  February 17, 2021 at 7:05 pm


  • 13. msjadeli  |  April 1, 2021 at 8:10 am

    Such a blow to the heart to know a friend you thought you could contact whenever had passed on. My condolences to you, Plaridel.

    • 14. plaridel  |  April 1, 2021 at 3:50 pm


      thank you.


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