This morning I received an e-mail from a friend and former co-worker, forwarding an e-mail from another former co-worker -- one I do not like. In this e-mail she relayed the news that her mother had died unexpectedly and asking for prayers in this difficult time.
Now my normal response to news like this is to immediately say a small prayer and then to jot off a note expressing my sympathies and asking if there is anything I could do for them or their family.
But I don't like this woman. And I have many good reasons for not liking her. Among them is the fact that when my mother was dieing of cancer, she used my absences from work as an opportunity to stab me in the back with the powers-that-be, writing e-mails to partners about how my absence was making things difficult for others. (Which meant that instead of doing nothing all day, my absence meant she actually had to work for a living.) And when my mother died she never said so much as an "I'm sorry for your loss." She didn't acknowledge my loss in any way.
I'd like to say that I have been able to call upon my better nature and say that prayer and dash off a note with a couple of consoling lines. I came up with "I hope you know what it feels like to have people around you talk about you behind your back, kick you while you are down, all while ignoring the death of your mother. And please pass on my regards to your sister. Is she still trying to convince people her son was a virgin birth? And if you really want to be taken seriously as a Mary Kay consultant, maybe you should do something about your beard."
But something tells me that isn't a good letter to send.
Like I said, I am not a nice person.