Talking

There was a comment on Friday’s blog, that highlighted part of a subject that I have often thought about. I say part, as it is actually also part of a much bigger picture of our lives. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that there are a lot of isolated and lonely people who have a chronic illness. Our health often locks us in our homes, stop us working and slowly all of it destroys the majority of friendships we ever had. I have in the past written a couple of blogs as to why I believe our friends stop calling and slowly vanish totally from our lives. Of course, I just searched for them, and couldn’t find them, but I know they are there, somewhere. Anyway, I am almost certain, that I only very briefly touched on the one in yesterday’s comment, “We don’t have anything to say”. As odd as it may seem, as I can sit here and write forever, I actually rarely have anything to say, to anyone these days. The more isolated you become, the less there is to talk about, outside of what’s on TV, or your past and both those subjects are extremely limited, especially with people who know you well.

“We don’t have anything to say”, is actually a very simplified way of bottling the truth. If I think back to my life 20 years ago, I know without a doubt that when I was out socially, what I talked about was mainly work, shared acquaintances, anything I had done of interest outside of that and our shared history. I had two groups of friends, those I knew through my current job, and those who I met through my past one, but it didn’t matter, our conversations usually still centered around those few subject. Well, unless something amazing had happened in the news. If for some odd reason, one of them decided to pick up the phone and call me right now, after I had updated them on my health as it is now, I would have nothing to say. Why? Well, it’s simple.

a) I no longer work.
b) I go nowhere and do nothing.
c) I have no updates to share with on other friends, as I have none.
d) I have no gossip to share.
e) I have no reliable memories

Would they call me again? Probably not, especially if you add in that the phone confuses me, and that would have caused me to stuttered my way through what little I had to say, I doubt I would have said nothing to inspire them to call again. Even after 9 years of not having spoken to them, I would still have nothing to say. Is it really that surprising, they don’t keep calling?

In the past, when I have written about losing our old friends, unlike most people, I have never held to the theory that they couldn’t stand watching us going down hill. I still don’t, but our lack of ability to interact in the way they expect, without a doubt, plays a big role in our isolation. Over time, we just become that person who pops into their conversation occasionally, and a few may wonder how we are now. We have become like so many other people we once knew, just infrequent memories. Life moved on and we, well we were left behind.

I for one can say in total honesty, that conversation even with the only friend who I am still in contact with, is hard. He, though, is a total angle as I know without a doubt, that before he calls me each week, he makes a list of things to talk about, before dialing my number. We have been friends now for over 25 years, and he is the closest thing I have to family, outside of Adams. Jake found himself in the position about 8 years ago, of having to be the sole carer for his father. Over the couple of years, he spent looking after him, he learned how to approach a conversation with someone without a dynamic life. It took me a while to spot it, but once I did, I found myself being able to tick off the points where his preparation came into use. When I go silent or start to freeze up badly, he always jumps in taking the conversation back into his control. He often has newspaper articles there by his side, so that he can read sections, or tell me the gist of the story. He tells me everything about his life, who he works with, what they do and say. He saves up silly stories to share with me. Tells me what he’s been cooking and allows me to respond, even when that means waiting for it to eventually come out of my mouth. He never gets upset if I can’t remember things we once shared, nor offended if I tell him I have to go, I can’t cope any longer. He’s a rare gem and there are few of them around. I’ve learned from him, but it’s too late. If I had done the same years ago, then maybe, just maybe, I might have kept one or two of my other friends. It doesn’t take that much work in preparing to talk. To have a few notes, prompts for stories to talk about, just being ready to be a friend, or, just tell them the truth, tell them just what it’s like to be you and how to help make a conversation work, for both of you.

For the average person, holding a virtually one-sided conversation is hard work. Adam too has learned that that is just the way it often has to be. He knows when I go silent, or appear to not be following what he is saying, that I am, I’m just not up to responding as most people would. I don’t need anyone to tell me that talking with me, is hard work, too much hard work for most people. Long before I was housebound, I had already lost most of my friends. They too found it hard work, even when they still saw me around, the fact I had nothing to say, meant they either avoided me, or spoke for a few minutes, then found an excuse to go. If there is one truth about today’s world, it is that people expect their entertainment and recreational life to be easy and to be fun. That is something that as our health progresses, we are without a doubt the total opposite of. We, are hard work, not just to talk to, but to just be around. Is it really such a surprise, that our friends are either few and far between, or just not there any longer, at all.

 

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 12/03/2014 – Don’t look

Often I am set off on my daily post by a comment that appeared on twitter in response to one of my tweets, but I had to totally love one, out of complete understanding that I read this morning. I had posted a picture on Facebook and put out a tweet something along the lines of “how nice it is to have the entire bed to yourself”, the response came from another who suffers with chronic pain, “especially when parts of your body choose to sleep in different directions”. I immediately saw myself lying in bed, yes on my back but with both my left arm and leg stretched across…….

 

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “Talking

  1. Thank you for posting this, so interesting. It has made me understand something about a family member I used to visit, and why it was so difficult. I will know more how to handle similar situations in the future. God bless you.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. after writing that comment…unless another said the same, I think it was me…. I decided I should write a post about the same thing. It is writing up to sound much like yours. I’m not like you, I can’t write a meaningful post every day, It takes me days to get a post together.

    So when you read it, if it sounds like yours, I didn’t mean for it to.
    but now that I’ve read yours it will probably influence mine.

    at the end of mine, I’m going to give a link to this post, if that’s ok.

    You are very lucky to have your friend. I have tried to steer conversations when I see people and it’s as if they don’t want to talk about their lives or something. I want to hear about them, what they are doing…ect. I don’t want them to hear about me and my most recent treatment…ect, that can be talked about here and there, but I don’t want it to be everything. But it is pretty much all I know.

    You’ll have to read my post to find out more. haha I’ll try and get it out soon. I’m trying to update my blog a bit, the pages need updating..ect. I may even get a new look. I’m drawing a header.

    thank you for talking about this. and understand what I meant.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was you and as you see, I more than understood it, because I to live it. I think many of us do, and although it’s hard, some of them that go can’t be avoided. We are all familiar with losing friends when we change jobs, well in many ways, this is just the same. But our true friends, well if we fight, if we keep talking, I believe there’s a chance we can save them, just as Jake saves me, week after week after week. I look forwards to your take, on our shared lives.

      Take care (((Hugs)))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a beautiful and powerful post. I myself am at the beginning of this process, losing friends left and right – feeling that my universe is shrinking each day that passes. Thank you for making my world just that little bit larger.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I too have lost all my friends. Even the one I’ve been friends with for almost 30yrs. It’s even hard and takes a lot of energy to talk with my kids sometimes. I’ve always hated to talk about myself and my health.. I already live it and I don’t want to talk about it. As I no longer have a car, my 85yr neighbor takes me where I need to go, we’ve become friends. We share our love of gardening and our outlook on life, bringing each other soups we’ve cooked. I truly have come to love and appreciate her. I feel very blessed to have her in my life. Thank you everyday for your blog. We are all blessed to have you and your love to write and your willingness to share and reach out to us. You help us make sense of the world we now live in. God bless Pamela.

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    • Your neighbour sounds like Jake, she understands how to talk and just as importantly, how not to talk about the things we know all too well. They treat us still a “normal”, not someone who can’t keep up with the world. We are both blessed, because we both have found another who understands. That is a true blessing.

      Take care (((Hugs)))

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! Exactly! We go to the library together too. Happy to talk to each other or just a comfortable quiet. You’re right, we are both very blessed. ((hugs)) 🌻

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  5. This has happened to me long ago. One thing I would hope is that others outside of ourselves are reading these things and understand that this is not all on the person who is ill; that it takes two to maintain a friendship. A true friend doesn’t turn their back on you in your darkest hour.

    The ironic thing in my own situation is that even as I was becoming much more disabled my inner life and conversation has for the most part remained rich, yet the divide between myself and those who were not ill became wider and wider anyway.

    The last “friend” (and I use that term loosely) who made their exit didn’t just drift out of my life but created a scene as an excuse to do so, pounding on her steering wheel and spewing the most vicious and cruel things to me on our weekend shopping trip together, calling me a loser, stating my son didn’t care about me, and a laundry list of other invectives. She stated that she didn’t “need” me, then she turned the car around and dumped me at the bottom of my steep driveway raving at me that I could find my own way to the grocery store.

    The night before was when I’d told her I was losing my mobility. She had been in my life for over 20 years, but as her life got easier and more advantaged and mine, less she began to view me with contempt and felt it were her place to judge me, increasingly talked down to me, embarrassed me in public, and probing me for information about my illness to twist around and use against me. She claimed to like me but her actions said anything but.

    It was when I did something emotionally healthy and refused to take the bait and not answer her loaded questions anymore that she’d decided to attack me in such a ruthless way and end the “friendship”. Really although it was hurtful, it didn’t come as a surprise to me and I told her “Yay! Good! It’s a dysfunctional relationship and I’m glad it’s over.” I told her that I never wanted to hear from her again and that I didn’t want to waste what time I had left with people who didn’t value me, that I wanted the remainder of my life to be filled with people who genuinely cared, not phonies who only pretended to.

    This was a woman I went out of my way to help in ways even her husband wouldn’t when she had her worst times, but then when the situation was reversed she lorded it over me.

    I may not ever be surrounded by loving arms and I may ultimately die alone, but at least it won’t be with false friends who are doing me more harm than good at a time when I need peace more than ever.

    One thing I hope the non-ill can take away from all this is that we all get some illness that we can’t recover from sooner or later and one day they will be in our shoes. At the end of our lives what’s most important is that we can live with ourselves and hopefully have brought some love and kindness to the world in which we live. If we treat the elderly and disabled as trash to be thrown away when they are no further use to us then it only perpetuates a culture that threatens the extinction of our species.

    In the Native American culture we don’t do that. Instead we value the wisdom that comes with such life experiences. I hope that more well people will read our blogs and learn from them because they are all filled with wisdom.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Unfortunately, any of us can come across a bad friend. What yours did, was unacceptable, but there have always been and always will be, people who act like this, whether we are ill or not. Many long term friendships fail for a million different reasons. Someone I thought would be my friend forever, disappeared when I married my husband. Why? I quite honestly don’t really know. I was told she just thought it was a good time to end it, but that to me, makes no sense.

      I hope you find someone new who will be a friend to you. Don’t let this one person, turn you against the world. There are a lot of great people out there, so be sure to let them in, not bloke them because of her.

      Take care (((Hugs)))

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think it will turn me against the world, but I am much more careful now who I trust, not only because of her but because I’ve come across alot more cruelty here lately since my disease has progressed to this level of disability and some of it I never envisioned I’d be the target of. I’m still trying to get my bearings after everything that’s happened over the past 6-8 months.

        I agree that she may have done this anyway even if I had not gotten more disabled, but I’m finding out a whole other layer of discrimination that happens after one’s mobility starts failing that I hadn’t known before. People do things now they probably wouldn’t dare back when I was more mobile. This is a topic I’m planning on blogging about soon.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am astounded at her rudeness. Maybe she was afraid you would become “needy” so she would get rid of you before that could happen. But there is a reality called cause and effect or you real what you so or what goes around comes around. She WILL get back the effects of the causes she made and sadly she will have to learn the folly of what she did. Hopefully she will learn, but by then it will be too late. You are right, no one gets out of life alive. We all get sick at some point. Keep being good to people in spite of how they treat you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think that the whole concept of “needy” is faulty. People have needs, some more than others because our bodies are all different. It’s a huge burden for a person to carry to have to worry that their needs will be too much for the other.

        There’s such a disparity in how people view needs in society. On one hand you see people who are dependent upon others for nearly every aspect of their functioning down to wiping their butt for them and caregivers who love them anyway, go the extra mile, and don’t resent it one bit, then on the other hand people who think it’s “needy” if a person needs a prescription picked up from the pharmacy because they cannot do it themselves.

        Alot of it really comes down to tolerance of people’s differing abilities and disabilities.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Because you write so well I would not have guessed you have such trouble talking. I have made some of my best friends on line. Taking away the physical barrier it’s easier to speak our mind and talk about how we feel than if we are face to face – or over the phone.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s not difficult. You visit a person who’s ill – and you offer any help you can, making phone calls, getting the person a glass of water, or whatever. Yes – you can do the entertaining conversation thing, but sometimes it’s ok just to be there. I usually bring some knitting or crochet. You can watch TV with the person, or just be there to keep them company as they drift in an out of sleep or awareness. When my cousin had MSA (Multiple Systems Atrophy), I used to give her foot massages or brush her hair or do her nails. Really – friendship is so easy to give. More people should try it.

    Liked by 2 people

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