We were receiving daily updates from our friend, who had, along with his family, had been spending sleepless nights at the hospital in a bedside vigil. Expecting the worst at any time.
The text came one Sunday morning. We were having breakfast at the time, and discussing how awful a time the family were having, and how cruel life could be.
The text read:
'Had an awful night. Hospital all night. Dad in a really bad way. He was in so much pain and entirely incoherent. Whole family were called in to be with him. The staff on site did all they could, they were absolutely wonderful, but unfortunately'
That's where it stopped.
My husband and I looked at each other, sadness in our hearts for the family left behind. Debating whether to call, we decided a text would be better than interrupting the grief of a family spending time together so soon after the passing of a loved one. Between us, we quickly composed a text and sent it:
'So, so sorry to hear the awful news. We both send our condolences to you and your family. If there's anything we can do, let us know.'
We continued eating our breakfast in subdued silence, flicking aimlessly through the tabloid.
A couple of minutes later, the mobile chirped another text through to us.
We downed our cutlery, coffee cups and newspapers, and, adapting our grief ridden faces, we glued our heads together to read the response from the phone:
'Wot? He's not dead! Unfortunately, the consultant wasn't on site, but he came in on his night off, put my dad through a tricky op, and he's made good progress this morning! '
We looked at each other, mortified, my hand slapped across my mouth.
"Oh no! I can't believe we've done that!" I mumbled through closed fingers
"What are we going to say now?" My husband muttered
So, here went another compilation:
'Oh, really sorry about that mate...it was just the way your text was worded and ended! Well that's really good news then! We wish him all the best, and a speedy recovery!"
The moral of the story! Never jump to conclusions, and always wait a day (and a half to make sure) before responding to any text of this nature!
The friend? He's still a very good friend of the family, a fantastic support, and one we value greatly. A one in a million!