For the most part, I'm pretty good at dealing with stressful or life changing events. I'm not saying I have the composure of Ghandi or anything, but I do pretty well processing everything that comes at me on a grand scale. The little stuff can throw me for more of a loop if it sneaks up on me (i.e. - forgetting to pay a bill, wondering if I locked my front door when 99.9% of the time I do), but the big stuff I don't sweat. I presume it's because the big stuff is my "normal". It's happened so often in my life that I don't know any different.
That's why when my closest family and friends are struggling, I hate that I can't fix it. I wish I could take that pain on for them because I'm used to it. In my head I think: "I'm the only one that's allowed to be hurting in this friendship! Give whatever they have to me! I can take it because I'm used to it!" Being "broken" physically and worn out mentally are the things I do best.
Nothing I say or do will prepare a friend for their first time as a patient or as the parent of a patient. The mental preparation that it takes to allow that acceptance can be so hard. They are going through all the scenarios and wondering if they could have done something to prevent this from happening. This may sound strange, but there are days when I feel lucky to have had a chronic illness all my life. I've had time to process things and get used to the fact that I am sick or that my sister was sick so when scary stuff actually happens, I'm prepared for it. I can't even fathom what it must be like to be fine one minute and then be told you're sick the next. Or to have what you think is a healthy kid, only to find out they are going to have some extras for the rest of their life. Extras that make you feel like you are the only one on the planet who has to deal with them. Even when you realize you aren't the only ones, it still hurts and rightfully so!
Nothing I say or do can justify to a child why mom and dad are gone so much when that child's only wish is to see them more often. Those same parents who are working long hours or the graveyard shift just trying to make ends meet and provide for their family. When they finally do get home they are supposed to be "Super Parent" with all that "reserve energy" they magically have stored up in there pocket, only to pass out sitting straight up on the couch from pure exhaustion with one shoe off and a sock dangling halfway on their foot.
Nothing I do can explain why the people and animals we love most pass away, why couples who want babies struggle to get pregnant, why some people are so malicious and vile, and why some people feel sad enough to worry if they will ever be loved. Why does anything on this earth have to suffer?
I cannot fix it, but I can do something: I can listen. I can hold your hand. I can be there if you need me to be. I can leave you alone if you'd like. I can encourage you and tell you that things will get better. That wounds will heal with time and, though they may leave scars, they are a permanent reminder that you survived something big because you are amazing. Most of all I can I love you with all my heart because that's what I do.
To my close family and friends who are struggling - I am here if you need me and I am ALWAYS thinking of you. I love you so much.
Peaceful Things To All My Friends,