Losing, Keeping and Making New Friends

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 5)  This message has been floating around Facebook for a couple of weeks:

“If someone wants to be a part of your life, they’ll make an effort to be in it.  So don’t bother reserving a space in your heart for someone who doesn’t make an effort to stay.”  

Who does this make you think about?

Usually Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop is an opportunity for me to step out of my usual, for my audience to get to know me in other ways through writing prompts that allow me to talk about my childhood, my teen years, and my life before I was sick.  There is usually nothing about the fact that I am disabled by my chronic illnesses in these posts, and if you were visiting from Mama Kat’s and didn’t look at the title of my blog, you may not even know that I was sick.  And that is exactly why I like Mama Kat’s weekly writer’s prompts.

But if ever a prompt screamed out “Emily’s Blog!” or “Emily’s Mission Statement!”, it is this one.  We all lose friends through one way or another.  Like divorce, sometimes friends just grow apart in their ideologies.  A friend may move away and life makes it impossible to keep up with each other. Sometimes their can be a huge blow-out between two people and they never talk again.

When you are chronically ill, the loss of friends makes a huge impact on your emotional and physical well being.  You are going through the toughest times of your life, and the ones who are your true friends, and who believe that you are actually that ill and will never get better, stay.

As a person that is living a chronically ill life, I am finding that the sicker I get, the more friends I lose. I have been extremely ill for four years now, although I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2003.  This year I have been to the hospital four times.  I have lost hair, I have gained weight, I have picked up infection after infection.  This has probably been my worst year and I am still surprised to find friends whom I have known over a decade distancing themselves from me with no explanation. I feel they are afraid to see me this sick and are afraid that I might be contagious to them or their children, when it is they who are dangerous to me.

So what do I do to make up for old friends leaving?  I find other people like me; through support groups, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  There have been a few people whom I just needed to tweet out that I needed support and were right there with their phone number so I could talk to them.  I have met true friends through blogging and certainly met them through my own blog, a unexpected bonus.

Tyler’s friends’ mothers are becoming some of my friends too.  Perhaps it is because they have only known me as sick, they do not have to feel sad and compare me to the way I used to be.

I have about three friends that date back from junior high, high school and college.  They are the ones consistently trying to make the effort to stay in my life, even if it is only a couple of times a year, or if we have to take out our planners and find a date two months in advance that is good for the both of us.  They understand when I am too sick on a planned day and have to cancel.  They believe me.  They are not afraid of me.  They accept me for the person I am NOW and whatever may come my way, they are going to BE THERE FOR ME.

I understand those whom have had to “drop out” of my life because they just could not take hearing any more bad news.

I have heard that if you end up with two or three people in your life whom you can truly call a friend, then that is really all that is important.

I guess I am still doing okay.





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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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