Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Have Your Friendships Changed?

I am going to apologize ahead of time because this might very well seem like a pity post. This is not my usual kind of post. I am feeling a bit down today.

Have your friendships changed? What changed them?

Many things can change a friendship. Maybe its betrayal or an on going argument that just never seems to be resolved. Distance sometimes erodes a friendship until the annual Christmas card is all there is.

Some of you have kept the same friendships since childhood
                  others college and some have kept blogging relationships for years without ever meeting in person.

For me it was my cancer.

or at least I think it was the cancer.

When my husband was sent to Iraq years ago and then just a few years later I became sick something inside me changed... really changed, and that is what my friends are complaining about.

"You've changed Joanne" is the mantra I hear over and over again.

I could I not.

Instantly after the operation I became very protective....of my time with my family.
I didn't want anyone or anything getting in the way. All I wanted ...was more time with my family.

I didn't want get togethers and dinners out

I wanted more time with my Kids and husband

I didn't want girls night

I wanted family time

I wanted to surround myself with my kids because they were the main ones I worried about when I got sick...I worried about them and how little time was left to enjoy them.

I was suddenly aware of hours and minutes even seconds wasted  when I could be home with my kids making memories.

Yes, I became selfish, because I suddenly had the knowledge that it could all be taken away in an instant. I needed those first few months after my operation to stay close to home and kids and my husband. I felt safe there. I wanted to just stay home.

 I felt bombarded by guilt as friends who didn't understand my sudden introversion felt alienated. I couldn't explain it; I didn't understand it myself.

recently a friend called and asked what she should give a friend of hers suffering breast cancer and getting a mastectomy.

                "What did you want Joanne when you were sick?"

    That question instantly froze me; it kicked me right back to that time.

                "Should I send her flowers?" she asked.

                "No." I said, what I wanted then was to feel normal again. I wanted to feel clean. She probably does too. "Send her some nightgowns that open in the front. pretty ones. She won't be able to raise her arms for a long time, so these nightgowns will help with that."
pretty front opening nightgowns and blouses would have been such a blessing for me then. I felt sucked right back to that awful time. I'm a survivor now So why did it make me sad to think of not having that pretty nightgown?

Years ago we decided that we would get together once a month. Sounds simple right? Nope, When you are a woman in her forties with young children , a caregiver to her own Mother and a husband who works horrendous hours. It is difficult. Even planning a family camping trip takes tons of coordination and planning so that My Mom is taken cared of properly. There is no such thing as impromptu plans. I guess its that way for everyone with families.  I do make these get-togethers, but it is the times I can't go that it becomes a problem and tensions arise. 

What's even more difficult is feeling that I don't do enough.

I am not enough. spread thin and tired of the complaints from all sides I retreat.

I don't do enough

   I don't give enough

      I am not enough, so why am I so tired?

Friends and some family think I don't care....I do

Friends and some family think that I have changed...I did

Some think they have it all figured out...but the only way they could possibly understand is going through it and I wouldn't want to wish that on my worst enemy.  They have their own trials and I don't pretend to know what they are going through but thank God Their Mothers are relatively healthy and independent and they themselves are healthy too .

Time fitters by as hours turn into days while I take care of Children,  Husband and Mom. admittedly I forget to call to check in. My fault entirely.

So I take my best friend's criticisms and I read the text where she writes that she will not arrange our monthly get togethers anymore. She says it is too much to keep asking what days are good for us all.

As I sit and read her text I glance at the mountains of medical bills that still have to be paid for my Mom. I have to think of ways to keep my kids occupied while I escort her to the numerous doctors appointments and have to make time to do her shopping. I think about my own upcoming mammogram and that weird pain in my chest that I have been feeling which worries me a bit.

I feel guilty, I feel responsible and I feel so very sad. Then guilty all over again because so many are in worse situations by far.

 Spread thin

        Thread bare

                Exposed and raw

                          I pray, take a breath and open up another envelope.

Have any of you experienced this? How did your friendships change?


  1. I'm sorry you're feeling down, Joanne. I don't really have a lot of real life get together friends outside of church anymore. I am with you, that the family is most important.

  2. I just hope and pray that none of your 'friends' ever has to experience a bout of cancer...but...if they did, perhaps they would get their priorities in order.

  3. Thank you for sharing Joanne. This is very honest. Blog award BTW

  4. oh man... this hit home!
    long story short, the other night i had a panic attack while hubby and baby were soundly asleep. so many thoughts went through my head, i almost cried. now i know the true value of time and want to use it wisely with my little family. and also grow closer to God!

  5. I had no idea that you had gone through this. I am glad you are in remission now.

    Cancer is an evil thing that sneaks up when we are unaware, I can understand where you are coming from. Don't take offence at what your friend said, a true friend would have been more understanding.


  6. Thank you this is exactly what I needed to hear today.

  7. What a very touching story, you are such an amazing friend! I can't even imagine what it was like, it really does put things into perspective on my side always trying to do so much, that some of those small things I need to be closer to are slipping away.

    My prayers are always with you. And i just know that friend of a friend is going to be so moved by the nightgowns. that is so much more important than flowers that soon will be in the trash.

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