We - and yes, I am speaking for my whole family - are pretty high maintenance friends. We don't want to be but we are. Over the past few years, we have asked a lot of our friends from needing overnight and long term help with the kids to sitting in hospitals and not being able to help with carpools or outings.
Someone said one day "oh you guys got this!". Well, yeah we do because there isn't really another option. And since we have done this before - this major surgery and then recovery - it looks as if its easy and just a simple process. Part of me is glad that we are able to fall into this routine quickly (makes it easier on the kids) but what isn't seen is the exhaustion, the pain, the paperwork and bills, the shelf full of medications with a morning, afternoon, and evening routine. And the loneliness - that may be one of the worst parts.
Friendships are so hard for me lately. The past handful of years have been difficult in that way. I look back and there are just so many friendships that have fallen to the wayside. Some I know why and some I don't. I see my friends all hanging out with each other and I miss being part of the group. I hold on to these silly inside-jokes from years ago because they make me feel like somehow, I am still connected. That somewhere in there, the friendship is still there.
Being friends with me this year meant listening to the current medical issues and hearing me ask for help again with the kids or house. No part of my life went untouched by the medical and career roller coaster of this year. I was - and frankly still am - so wrapped up in my family's own transitions and worries that I am completely blind to what kind of friend my friends need me to be for them. I am so sorry for that.
I have been lonely. I have been angry. I have been jealous. This year, I have said no to most celebratory occasions with our friends - missed birthdays, baptisms and baby dedications, and I am sure there are events that happened that I don't even know about. I will forever be sad to have missed those moments.
I have changed. These experiences have changed me - they have made me more sure of what I want, they have made me more anxious, they have made me more focused on my family's needs over anything else at all times no matter what, and they have made me stronger than ever. They have also made me realize what to get upset about and what, frankly, isn't a huge massive issue and therefore not one I deal with for long. I have also realized how lonely we are - how isolated we feel from the very social life we lived just a year ago.
I am not good at reaching out. I am not good at intimate conversations -- I hate hate hate confrontation. I can write and so I do that. And I hope that one day....well, I don't know. But I know that I miss my friends.