02nd May2011

Absent friends

by Dutchcloggie

It can’t be easy to accept that one of your friends is dying. I understand this. However, there are some people that Jane considered good friends whom we have not heard from for weeks now. If it is too difficult, too emotional, just send me a message, saying you are aware of the situation but that it is too hard for you to deal with. I can easily accept and respect that.

But there are a few people from whom I have heard nothing. Or very little. People who are our friends on Facebook so they must know what is going on. And yet, nothing. Not even a comment on a status update. Or a Like. Surely that is the simplest way to at least show you are interested in your friend.

We are blessed with some very good friends who come over on a regular basis and lots of people who stay in touch via Facebook, email and this website.

Maybe the initial shock wears off for people. After hearing how ill JD was, we had A LOT of visitors, emails & phone calls. Now that things have gone on for longer than perhaps first expected, fewer people are visiting. And this is the time when visitors would be really nice, not just for Jane, but also for me. Caring is hard work. It is relentless and all-consuming. Having visitors gives me the chance to leave the house for a bit, even if it is just for an hour to grab a drink with some other people, or something like that.

When JD first came home, I did not want to leave the house. But now, over the whole bank holiday period, we had visitors on only 3 out of 11 days and none at all in the diary for the next 2 weeks. And believe me, I love JD to bits but spending day after day, alone with someone who just sleeps all day, without being able to leave the house can be really boring.

Maybe visiting terminally ill friends is just different from visiting a friend. It is less about a social visit for the visitor’s pleasure. It should become more about being helpful or entertaining for the ill person or their carer. Your visit becomes something that helps someone, rather than just entertains.

Not sure what I am trying to say. Maybe I am saying that perhaps some people should get over the fact that they feel uncomfortable sitting next to JD’s bed and think instead of how their visit, hard as it might be for them, can bring a little bit of relief for JD or for me. To them, it is just an hour, 2 hours of being uncomfortable. For JD and me, it is day after day after day. For a “normal” social visit, I can see how driving 1 hour to come & see us after your regular work day is a bit much. But for a friend who is so ill, surely that is a tiny, tiny inconvenience for you and certainly no reason not to visit on a regular basis? is people’s willingness to travel an indication of how much they do or do not care? If that is the case, then the lovely guy who had not seen or spoken to JD for 6 years who came to visit recently must be one of her best friends.

Hmmm… As usual, this all seems rather angry and ungrateful for me to say. It is not what I mean. Just not very good at saying what I mean. I am just thinking that if it was one of my good friends, I would visit regularly, inform regularly, email or phone regularly. Show my interest and care very regularly. I know life goes on for people and that, hard as it is to believe, JD is not the centre of the universe for some of her friends, but I would have thought that she would occupy a slightly more central place in some of her friends’ lives now that they will be losing her soon.

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