One of the most distressing things about being a caregiver (or a patient) is the loss of friends, the falling-away of community.
I hope that you have a core of steadfast and stalwart people who stand by you, who are there in loving support, gently taking some of the burdens when you can't carry them. There to listen, and to speak love into your heart.
But there are inevitably others, some on whom you'd been sure you could count, who fade away.
You notice that gradually the phone rings less often, there are fewer Facebook or twitter chats, and Instagram goes quiet.
Your inbox is full of offers from Ebay and not much else, and everyone seems to be so busy.
Your friends are going from strength to strength o Facebook, and you feel like you're strugging through a swamp...and you sometimes feel so alone.
What's going on? Why are you suddenly forsaken?
Well, this -
- When you're a caregiver of patient, a lot of people just don't know what to say, so they don't say anything, thinking their words will be trivial or trite. After not saying anything for awhile, they feel it will be hard to come back. They're ashamed of their silence, and therefore perpetuate it.
- Some folks feel that associating with the sick is bad luck, that it'll invite illness into their life. It's a silly superstition, yes, but it's rooted in a primal dread of illnesses that really were fatally contagious. Cancer are heart disease and the like aren't catching, but somehow they feel like an evil miasma that may ensnare those in attendance.
- Some don't want to get in the way. Caregiving and illness are all-consuming, and they don't want to place demands on you for interaction. They think you're too busy.
- Illness is depressing, and there are those who can't bear to see it, because they're afraid of what they might one day face. The caregiver and patient become a symbol of something fearful.
None of these are hard to understand, and we've all felt these at some point in our lives. Friends who 'drop' you are very rarely subscribing to the Pirates' Code: "He who falls behind is left behind."
But it sure feels that way, doesn't it?
Is there anything you can do, short of metaphorically running after them and tugging on their shirtsleeves, saying, "Hey, please, come back!"?
Yes, there is. You can keep the road back open.
- Stay in touch; even if you get no response, send the occasional email, and keep them friended on Facebook, sharing posts and status.
- When you talk to them, don't but these people on the spot. Be gracious and welcoming, and show an interest in their lives, genuine interest in their problems (even when they seem so much less serious than your own).
- Pray for them, because at some level they know they've turned away in your hour of need, and it will eat at their hearts.
- Don't take it as a judgement on you; see their weakness for what it is, their handicap.
What do you think? How do you deal with fallen-away friends?
A bit of news..."Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart" has come home! Tate Publishing has gone south, and I regained the rights, so it'll soon be available in both Kindle hardcopy versions once again. In the meantime, if you absolutely can't wait (!), you can still get used copies from Amazon.
I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.
Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.
If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.
Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.