When we think of friendship, we usually think of the people in our lives who have seen us through thick & thin. The people who we have perhaps grown up with, gone to school or university with, travelled with, played sports with or worked with for years. We think of the people who we expect will always be there for us.
The truth is that friends often come & go. Sometimes that’s because we have relocated or had a difference of opinion or have just naturally grown apart. We grow up, we change, we get married, have kids & often we find new friends. The memories of special friendships stay with us though,as a photograph album in our mind, to look back over when we want to be reminded of happy times spent together.
Sometimes, health issues can remove us from a “normal” social life that is often necessary to hold friendships together. Sometimes health can get so complex that friends no longer know what to say, what to ask or are so distressed about what is happening to their friend that it becomes easier to slowly let the friendship slip. We might think that sounds terrible but I think it’s also understandable. Chronic disease changes everything, for everyone, just like other life changing moments can do.
As a new life evolves, for the person with the chronic disease, around medical appointments & accepting new ways of living with a disability, some beautiful friends will remain but more than likely new, special friendships will emerge….if we let them.
It can be all too easy as a chronic disease sufferer to feel hard done by & that response is also completely understandable. Life is often changing at an accelerating rate, let’s face it… life is changing forever!
So, we have a couple of choices. Grieve over friendships that are drifting or are lost. That grief process needs to happen but once we have done the grieving, there comes a time to reach out & connect again, within our new limitations & with new expectations of ourselves & others.
I’ve been involved with online support groups for 2 years now as an administrator. My aim was always to help others as that’s what I love to do & I feel like it gives me purpose. It helps me make sense of this new phase of my life, this whole new world that I now envelope, where I am daily finding ways to live anew with complex diseases.
The unexpected outcome from being involved with these online groups is the friendships that I have seen blossom among two people or groups of people. Friendships that have leaped out of the Facebook forum arena & into coffee shops & home visits or regular phone calls & emails.
The added bonus for me has not only been connecting others but also finding my own connections with like minded beautiful people, who I now call “true friends”
” Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” CS Lewis
“Friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life” Thomas Jefferson
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum Medical Musings with Friends. It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.