The reason for my indifference was simply because this individual had been a consistently nasty presence in my life. Some might say I should be magnanimous and realize she was perhaps dealing with her own issues that caused her to act that way. That I should follow the example of Atticus Finch and try to see things from her point of view, to understand her perspective, and maybe find the good deep down inside her.
Well, I have done that. It is what has allowed me to not be resentful towards her and kept me from feeling any bitterness. I realize there was indeed another side to her that I didn't see. I'm sure there were family and friends who were enriched by her presence in their lives. So, I don't hate her - I find it a shame that she got sick and died, and I felt and still feel a deep sympathy for her family. However, I was not able to honestly mourn her passing as I could not conjure any personal warm memories of this woman.
An old saying, often attributed to Maya Angelou, states that people will always remember how you made them feel. This is true enough, but I would add to it that a person's memory of feeling becomes his/her basis on how he/she remembers you, on what kind of a person you become inside the living memories of other people. This is why I was able to actually mourn the passing of celebrities like Christopher Reeve and Princess Diana, two people I had never met and didn't know, because I was able to associate them with positive feelings and memories. Obviously, the same is true for any of my family or friends who have passed on. But, in the brief time I knew this woman, she was, purposefully or not, a negative presence in my life. That is how I remember her, and it would be disingenuous of me to pretend otherwise.
What I take from this is the reinforcement of truths I've known for a long time but continue to fall short on: Always treat people with respect. Always be kind. And, always bring positivity to any situation. To do otherwise for any of these ideals runs the risk of you becoming someone a person can't bring themselves to mourn when you pass away. There are fewer things more tragic than a person examining their memories of you and finding nothing that makes them miss your presence in their lives or at least feel a twinge of sadness at the thought. As much as I can help it, I don't want to be the cause of someone's negative feelings.