Who Your Friends Are

Now that I can look back on my recent health ordeal with a measure of perspective, I’m left with some personal  fallout.

If you had asked me to guess who would be there to support me in such a circumstance, along with my husband, my immediate family and my very closest chick-friends, I would have named a few people who have been nowhere to be found. On the other hand, I would not have expected to get the selfless and ongoing support that I’ve received from others.  Fortunately, the universe conspired to make it a wash!

I’ve analyzed this, and setting aside for a moment that some people are simply thoughtless boors, I have considered my role in their absences.  I can understand that when one is in the throes of recovering from a serious illness, health is all that one can talk about.  Whether you were able to get out of bed, take in solid food or see your doctor that day becomes your whole world.  Nothing else matters, not a job, not a responsibility, not the weather.  Nothing.  So it’s possible that I have been rather boring and self-centred to communicate with! When someone asked me how I was, I told them.  If they asked what happened to me, I told them that too.  It’s not as if we were passing in a hallway and someone said, Hi how are you and I held them hostage with my tale of woe.  Still, I can understand that there are people who don’t want to think about illness and in the cases of the ones who vanished, they are likely to apply everything they hear to themselves.  Who would want to put themselves through that?  Only a very good friend.

This is all quite okay.  I’ve gained and lost friends through the years and sometimes friendships simply aren’t meant to last forever.  But I’m also at a point in my life where I’m not going to invest in a relationship that is one-sided.  If you ran away when I needed you most, just keep running.  I’m blessed to have good people who ran toward me when I was at my worst and helped prop me up to get through it.  There will be no regrets but also, no second chances.  Life is, indeed, too short for that.

14 thoughts on “Who Your Friends Are”

  1. It’s me, isn’t it? You’re talking about me, goddamn it!!! One more chance!! I can do better!! I cannn!!! C’mon! Get sick again, just a bit!! You’ll see!!! I…can…do…betterrrrr!!!!

  2. Joy Rennick

    Hi Lisa,
    I fully understand what you are talking about. I myself just went through Breast cancer and I also was surprised by some that were not there and others that were. It almost felt with some I had to be there for them and reasure them things would work out!! Glad to hear you are well on your way to mending.
    Take care
    Joy

  3. Unfortunately Lisa, what you experienced plays out all to often when circumstances are such that the going gets tough and those you expect to be there for you, simply get going. I’ve experienced this myself for a large part of my life, I’ve seen it happen with my friends as I’ve offered a comforting word and shoulder as they’ve dealt with breast cancer, blood cancer, sudden loss of a husband and what seems like a long list of life’s curves.

    On the other side of the coin, during these circumstances, we often are surprised by those we least expected support from which places them in a new light often building a greater and more sustainable bond between you.

    You are correct, life is simply to short and precious to spend time investing in one sided relationships and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become far more ruthless in cutting the ties.

    The important thing is, that your well along the road of recovery.

  4. Hi Lisa, I can relate to this post very well as I have had friends abandon me due to my struggle with depression. Even though I would not talk incessantly about my illness when getting together, people still didn’t want to be around me. I am glad the universe “made it a wash” for you. I wish you all the best in your continued recovery.

    1. I think I was really trying to make excuses for them by looking at my own behavior. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say but I operate on the philosophy that it’s better to say something and show you care, than to say nothing and seem like you don’t! I truly believe you’re better off without those “friends” anyway and I hope you’re feeling well now.

  5. Just be thankful that you gained something from your illness – a new perspective on your friends. I have a harder time. I keep going back to some who disappoint me over and over again. I wish I could walk away. Good for you, you deserve better and you know it!

  6. I went through a similar experience many years ago. People I was confident would be there to help me get through it were suddenly physically and emotionally unavailable and as you discovered people you least expected to, stepped up to be there for you. While it may have been a wash, it still hurts that those you counted on weren’t there. As for you being boring and self-centred, you were never that. “Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer.” ~Author Unknown

  7. Lisa, I read this yesterday, and I feel like I didn’t get to help you. I’m only an hour away, and even though the weather wasn’t the best for driving, I could’ve at least made a jello run or something. 🙁

    I’m lucky that I haven’t been as ill as you, but I have experienced being avoided when things aren’t ‘alright’.

    1. Not at all Stacey! You were in contact with me and didn’t run away when I said things like “IV” and “antibiotic”! Plus you’re more than an hour away. It ain’t you, babe. In fact, it ain’t anybody who would stop by here…obviously! 😉

  8. Bill Shorley

    Hi Lisa,
    Oh boy do I understand! Being sick is brutal enough BUT try going from having more money than you really need to having to declare bankruptcy! All your fairweather friends disappear in a heartbeat after sucking the living crap out of your wallet. Sad but oh so True!
    I’m glad you’re doing so much better (and I don’t even know you personally). Karen is improving (guardedly) as well.

    1. It’s amazing isn’t it? Those who stick by you are the real gems. I’m glad Karen is doing well. Now that my PICC line is gone I think of her (and I don’t know her either!) and how long she will have to have hers in.

  9. You were boring and self-centred during your illness? Funny, I didn’t notice any difference.

    I keed, I keed!

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