Friendships all change with time. Some grow stronger and sometimes people drift apart. There is a different kind of friendship for those who experience a chronic illness or permanent injury. It’s called where the hell did they go? Oh you’ve heard of it? Yeah, you didn’t see that one coming did you…
Now I don’t know if it’s because people are unsure about how to talk about or rather not talk about your situation but it’s pretty hurtful. People who have been a part of your life for years will disappear without a trace. No calls or visits. It’s like the bible rapture happened and you weren’t invited. Thanks a lot guys.
I experienced this after my own accident and it took a big chunk of my self esteem when these so called friends abandoned me. I mainly brushed it off and focused on the ones who were still there. They cared and wanted to be with me no matter what my physical state was at the time. They didn’t care that I couldn’t speak or function. They loved me and held my hand while I tried to find my way back. Those are friends.
As my wife’s health has deteriorated with the cancer I noticed the same thing slowly happening with her family and friends. There were less visits to the hospital. Less people popping in to say “Hey, how’s it going?” We weren’t invited to as many functions. You see them out while you’re grocery shopping or running errands, but you’ve almost become invisible to half of the population.
I wish that people could understand that a disability or chronic disease isn’t contagious. We don’t need to talk about it all of the time. I don’t expect you to somehow save me. I guess it was good while it lasted?
The friendships that survive a disability are often deeper and real. I don’t know how to explain it otherwise. The friends that have stayed with me are friends for life. I know I can call them at 3am when I can’t handle the world. I could also call these guys to dispose of a body if needed. Yes, those are the real friends. The ones who see you at your lowest and carry you through it. It’s hard to find those friends, but you see them as family when all is said and done.
As the years have passed I have gone back home to visit and will run into these people who vanished. Oh wow, look I guess he wasn’t dead after all. They see how well I am doing for myself and suddenly there is an interest in rekindling things and hanging out. “I am not wasting a beer on you. I don’t have time and I have plans to hang out with my friends later. Take care.” Wow, I guess it was easier than I thought to walk away from that relationship.
Moral of the story? Don’t feel bad about people who didn’t care enough to want to be a friend. We can all find people who want to suck the life out of us. Who needs more of them? Concentrate on the people who want to be a part of your life. It makes it a much happier place.