When we think of friendship, we usually think of the people in our lives who have seen us through thick and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and connect again, within our new limitations and with new expectations, of ourselves and others.
My online support forum is celebrating it’s first anniversary today, the 14th January 2018. I’m so excited that it’s survived and thrived through its first year. I’m so excited to see such meaningful conversations daily and beautiful friendships and connections being made.
My aim in creating this forum 12 months ago, was simply to help others as that’s what I love to do. I’ve always believed caring for others is what I’ve been called to do…it’s my life’s purpose. Caring was at the centre of my work and life before chronic illness came along. Continuing to care in some purposeful way, now helps me make sense of this new phase of my life.
The added bonus of the support forum, has not only been connecting others but also finding my own connections with like minded beautiful people, who I now call “true friends”. Such a blessing!
I’m so looking forward to sharing the new year’s adventures with true friends old and new, both in person and online.
A FRIEND IS A GIFT OF GOD
A poem from “Someone Cares” by Helen Steiner Rice
Among the great and glorious gifts Our Heavenly Father sends
Is the gift of understanding that we find in loving friends
For in this world of trouble that is filled with anxious care
Everyone needs a friend in whom they’re free to share
The little secret heartaches that lay heavy on their mind,
Not just a mere acquaintance but someone who’s “JUST OUR KIND“
For somehow, in the generous heart of loving, faithful friends
The good GOD in his charity and wisdom always sends
A sense of understanding and the power of perception
And mixes these fine qualities with kindness and affection
So when we need some sympathy or a friendly hand to touch,
Or an ear that listens tenderly and speaks words that mean so much,
We seek our true and trusted friend in the knowledge that we’ll find
A heart that sympathetic and an understanding mind………
And often just without a word There seems to be a union
Of thoughts and kindred feelings for GOD gives TRUE FRIENDS communion.
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.
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