Steven Sabat gave a presentation about being a friend to someone with Alzheimer’s disease, and said in the face of dementia, people just don’t know what to do (or say), and I think this applies to other illnesses or crises too. This is why they ‘disappear’, not because they are bad people or don’t love you, they just don’t know what to do. I also lamented about friendship briefly on my Facebook page this week, and decided to add a few of the comments made there for further discussion. There is someone in my world, who I am related to, but who is not a friend to me, nor on my Facebook page but who stalks me through others, but then this week chastised me for something on my Facebook page. People, not life, are so hard to understand. Friendship should be easy. Honesty, mutual respect, loyalty, accepting each other unconditionally, being in the ‘presence’ of each other, enjoying moments together, being able to ‘look each other in the eye’ and know what is between you is real and honest. I think not having expectations of each other is important, but could be the hardest friendship goal of all. For me, being there for each other in the tough times, not just the easy times is important; showing up at a funeral, but not being supportive afterwards is not what I would consider a deep friendship, but it is a show of respect, which is also important; Real friends are there for the long haul, good and bad. I am thankful to have a lot of really good friends, in spite of having the symptoms of dementia. Occasionally though, I still feel disillusioned… hmm, perhaps I’m human rather than ‘demented’ after all??!!
“feeling upset about people who say they are friends, and who then just decide not to return calls or messages. Maybe they are not friends at all, as real friends would let you know if you had upset them, wouldn’t they? Maybe I need to re-evaluate my world and life, once again? Who knows, maybe I shouldn’t care? Or maybe I just need to ‘Toughen up Princess’ as some very good friends of mine say!! Build a bridge, get over it, get over yourself, maybe all of those things too? Arrgh, life and people can sometimes be so hard to understand…” (This was me on FB (!), and the following are some wonderful responses)
“real friends would know that they could say ‘I didn’t like it when…’ and know after a moment of hurt all would be forgiven…”
“in my short 40 odd years on earth I have discovered that you never really know anyone and people who you never would think would let you down are the first ones who do.”
“Why don’t people know what to say? Why can’t they see this is when you need them? Well, it’s fear, isn’t it. It has to be. Mostly fear of saying the wrong thing. I know it was for me when my best friends’ son was killed in a stupid accident. And what did I say? Blah blah blah. A load of rubbish. But they know I love them and always will. When it comes to caring for somebody I think a lot of people esp. family get unexpectedly and immediately complacent about the carer’s ability to do what they cannot or are not doing themselves. Well, that’s how it was for me when I was caring for my Mum. I’m not very good at forgiveness but I am very experienced in ‘overlooking’. PS. I think venting is great for the soul!”
“it’s not what you say but the message behind it… they would have loved you for caring enough to be there even though it was tough…”
“Wow, such a wonderful conversation here.. I do think fear is part of it, and not being able to face up to being honest with others too.”
“Drives me crazy when someone complains about something we all have to face in life, but they talk in the manner as if no one else has the same issues and they are the only one facing it.”
“I hate when you discover a side to someone you never thought you would see.”
This is an open discussion, and I’d love your comments and insights into friendship, lost friendships, shallow or deep and loving friendships, or anything else you want to write about regarding your own experience of friendship and truth. Love, life, friendship, and loss is there for us all, we just have to seize each and every day.