Cancer and friends
During my cup of green tea latte with a biscuit on the side yesterday afternoon, I wanted to take the time to pen down my thoughts on how my ordeal over the last few months has possibly changed the dynamics between friends.
One of the key observation I have noticed is how some friendships have strengthened while others has fizzled out. For those friends who know me best, they have stuck with me and joined me on a roller coaster ride. And they happily do so without any prompting from me. They make the effort to spare few minutes from their busy schedules to send a text message or a instant message to see how I am. It is these set of close friends whom I cherish the most. They know I will reciprocate in times of need.
On the other hand, there are friends who offered to help if I needed anything. When I do call upon to redeem that offer, they bail on me. One reason that I heard when I asked if they could drive me to my medical appointment was “Oh I am not a morning person. Sorry I can’t help you”. That response threw me off guard and didn’t know what to say to that. Whatever the reason maybe, perhaps I am too sensitive and expectations are high or maybe even high maintenance.
There are those friends who has slowly distanced themselves after learning the recurrence of my cancer. I am not tracking every single friend who checks up on me. I’m selective with people when it comes to disclosing personal details. I’ll be honest to say that I was saddened that those handful of friends just “disappeared”. I do make attempts to connect with them once in a while but some just don’t bother replying. I am in the over analyzing mood and here are some of the possible excuses I conjured up.
1. Too busy ;
2. Not interested to know anymore ;
3. Don’t wish to “know” or hang around with a cancer patient ;
4. They “fear” me; don’t have anything to say or scared to say that may upset me.
You may think that I am a little crazy on point number three. But in fact I have come across people who don’t like hanging around with sick people because it is depressing to them. Cancer patients’ may look gaunt, no hair or ill from the medications.
The “fear” I am referring to perception of cancer to them. Perhaps they don’t wish to deal with the emotional and physical demands who has cancer. From that point of view, I can completely understand this. For me, I want my friends to inject some laughter, share gossips and distract me from the daily doldrums of being a cancer patient. I might be asking too much from friends. Overall, it takes some guts from my friends to tolerate my ups and downs. It is also about finding the right balance when to be there and giving space.
The last six months has been a great test bed for me to see who are my true friends are. My final thought for the evening is “why does it take a dramatic event to occur to realize who will be there for you?” – something for all of us to ponder on.
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” Dalai Lama