It was one of those “Oh no” moments. I received a call from a former employee saying a mutual friend, Al, who I had had a falling out with, had suffered a “major stroke.”
I had not spoken to Al for almost five years, but when I heard the news of the stroke I felt awful. “What if he dies or cannot speak?” I thought to myself. The annoyance about our past business disagreement evaporated in the anguish of the moment of realization that an old friend was suffering. I texted Al’s cell phone to tell him I cared about him and wished him well.
The next day Al called me to renew our connection. We talked for half an hour about health and business and lapsed friendship. The stroke was “minor” and Al was back at work doing what he loves most – working with his machinery. He does face a heart procedure next week because a congenital abnormality was diagnosed after exhaustive tests in the hospital.
I also learned that he had called to check on me when I was in the hospital three and a half years ago. I did not know that until yesterday.
The phone call from Al was an emotional one for both of us old warriors of the machining trade. I kept thinking as we were conversing, “What if he had died?” I think I would have gone to his funeral with the ashes of regret in my throat. But now I get another chance to be connected with a friend.
Lesson learned – again – I guess.
Question: Do you regret a road not taken?