I called a friend last night in California. They lived in Israel for a number of years, he joined a kolel that teaches kiruv and then they send the kolel families to places out of Israel in need of Torah. I actually hadn't talked to him since they moved away, though I have thought about them and wondered how they were doing. Last month his mother died, and I called during shiva to make a shiva call. The problem with making a shiva call to someone you haven't talked to in a while is that you feel like a real shmuck. It's as if you only call because you feel some sort of obligation, and then when you call you can't ask how he's doing or any of the other things you would have talked about if you had called at a normal time because the answer is he's feeling lousy and he thinks life sucks at the moment. So I called, spent an uncomfortable minute on the phone, offered my condolences and hung up. It's not the first time that I've made a shiva call to an oldl friend who I hadn't talked to in a while, s I decided on a policy that after a month or so I would call the friend back and talk to him about normal things.
I got his cell phone number and a good time to call him from his wife, who I saw online one day. Then I put off calling him for 2 weeks because I was busy until last night I decided that I was going to call. I waited until 11PM which is lunch time in California and I called him. I said hi and asked him how he was doing. He sounded a bit stressed and said, "You probably didn't hear the news" I asked what news. He said he was on his way to a funeral. His grandmother passed away that morning. Now I felt like a double shmuck, so I quickly said, I guess this is a bad time and I will call back another time.
Day 3 of the 9 days.