Monday, May 6, 2013

What I'm Learning about Friendship. Part 1.

Now, it's friendship's turn.  

I always say Part 1 because I believe these subjects (amoung many others) have continiuos lessons to be learned from. 

So cue Part 1 Friendship.

Not many things can test friendship, or even love for that matter, more than a chronic disease or disability.  No matter what occurs, things will have to change.  This I am learning.  

I mentioned the other day a movie I watched that really moved me..."A Little Bit of Heaven".  I bring it up now because I believe it shows perfectly the types of friendships that occur in cases such as this.  

Friendship can essentially can be broken down into 4 groups:

1. The "Im right next door" friendship.
This is the friend that is the doer.  The one who knows you need some swedish fish and will bring some to you asap.  The one who is going to have you just sit down, drink some chardonnay, while they prepare a huge Italian dinner.  They know your needs.  They know you're sick.  They mix the both together and make your days.

In the movie, this is the guy friend who lives next door, cooks and walks the dog whenever needed.

2. The "I'm right around the corner" friendship.
This is the friend that even though you might not text or hear from daily, you know they are there no matter what.  They'll surprise you with a little note in the mail.  They'll answer your texts with sparkly emoticons and hugs and kisses.  They know your needs when you present them to them and answer to the call when needed.

The movie doesnt really have this friend character but I felt it important to define. 

3. The "Life is the same" friendship.
These are a very beautiful friendship.  The one's who just treat you the same.  Yes, they understand the drama of the situation.  They know this is serious.  But it's not going to change anything.  In the friendship or how they perceive you.  You will always be that same, strong friend they fell in love with and will treat you the same.  Yes, there will be times in which things will need to be modified and this will be done; but in sort of a "unspoken" way.  Not ashamed way.  Just, this is the new normal way.  

In the movie this is the best friend/business partner.  She treats each day as if just like before.  Even in the last moment she is smiling and supporting her friend.   

4. The "I dont know how to do this" friendship
I've debated on what I wanted to say about friendship for a while now.  Because I've been so blessed to have friends who have gone above and beyond in the 1-3 categories.  I'm so blessed by those I'm surrounded with.  They keep me going daily.  They keep me smiling. 

But since this is my story, and thus, the backbone of my book (getting ahead of myself here), I felt it necessary to express my true feelings on all types of friendship, even those lost.  
It may come off as bitter.  Please read to the end.

This friendship is defined by the ones in my life that just couldnt handle the change.  It interferes too much with their life and they dont know how to respond.  

There is one friendship in particular.  This friendship was very dear to me, had been for over 7 years.  

The friendship was defined mostly by a 60/40 effort, me providing 60.  It's not that this friend was selifsh; it's just how it was.

So when I was diagnosed, that 60/40 went to 0/100 overnight.  And this friend "didnt know how to be the friend that I wanted".  Looking back in hinesight though, I dont think this person meant offense.

In the movie, the character's bestest and longest friend finds out that she is pregnant with baby number two the same time the main character receives her chronic diagnosis.  This friend doesnt know how to enjoy her life, handle her difficulties while also trying to support her friend.  So she disappears.  Because what else can she do?

This is almost the exact same story, minus a baby.  My friend was going through life changing experiences, both good and bad, at the same time I was diagnosed.  This friend has expressed that they didnt know how to do both; how to function their life and be in mine as well.  

I shouldnt pin-point one friend.  There have been quite a few, even a love.  

Sometimes people build their boxes and when change occurs dont know how to build around it.  Whereas others, they build as they go on in life.  

I cant deny how upset this has made me, how many tears this has brought me.  Because not only have I lost a friend(s), but it's a slap in the face that my life is so different that persons cant handle it.  I'm such a hindrance that I am cut out of lives.  It hurts. 

Everyone has their own mountains to climb.  And for some, their mountains are not this one, with me, in the sparkled life.  And I just have to accept that.  And move on.  

There is a beautiful scene in which to conclude this friendship type on.  

The main character goes to her friend's house.  The friend who didnt invite her to her baby shower ("it's complicated"), to the friend who doesnt bring dinners, doesnt sit in the park, who doesnt even open the door when it's knocking, who isnt there in the last few hours of life.  

This quote sums up what I want to say to my friends who have treated me like this:

"I'm really hurt me when you started distancing yourself, but it's ok.  I get it.  A new baby coming and me's not fair having to be so happy and so sad at the same time.  Our friendships is one of the best things in my life and I'm sorry I'm not going  to get to know that little boy, but I know he'll be beautiful, just like Cami (the older sister)...and please, when she get's older, tell her that I love her like she's my own."

Except I'd say the quote without babies.  (:

In summary, for this portion, I just want you to know that I'm sorry you had to choose between your life and mine.  That it got complicated.  And I'm hurt by what happened.  But I understand that again, not everyone has to climb this with me.  

In summary, for this post, I am SO thankful for all the friendship that I do have.  I am BEYOND blessed.  I look around my room, with framed pictures of memories and events, of faces and I love and love me, just the way I am.  Multiple Sclerosis and all.

And for what it is worth, prior to me realizing how important it is to be a good friend, please consider this an overall apologie for all those times I wasnt a good friend.  I am working on it. 

Love always, Eliz