Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What About Your Friends?

Will they stand their ground
Will they let you down again
What about your friends are they gonna be low down
Will they ever be around or will they turn their backs on you

Remember this TLC song?
You may remember it, but I performed it. Ah, the 90's. In 5th grade, the "trio" dressed in overalls with one strap un-done, midrift tops underneath and performed this lovely number. What I wouldn't do for a photo of that about now.

I feel like I need to elaborate more on that last post about words unspoken. While I don't feel it necessary for friends to bring up Andrew, I also love it when they do. And there is a part of real, solid friendships that requires we "deal" with the struggles and misfortunes of our friends. These friendships aren't great in number, but there are likely a handful of these people in all of our lives. We need them because, well...

Friends have a very specific job: they need to listen and not offer suggestions on how to fix us.

Husbands aren't so good at this sort of thing. Parents either. They're all fixers. It drives them crazy that they can't offer suggestions on how to help us because they just really want us to find a better spot.

But really, what about your {few, solid, core} friends?

I know that for me, some of them have just plain let me down. I received cards from most of those solid friends and a lot more acquaintances, but that's about it. Before I sound like I'm contradicting myself from the last post, there are a specific set of friends that should just step in the mud with me us sometimes. I'm not talking about new friends, acquaintances, or general friends. I'm talking about that set of core friends who you've known your entire life or cried and laughed with all through college about everything. They have had been there for you at your breaking points in the past before you knew what a breaking point really was. And now they are missing. It doesn't matter if it's uncomfortable for them to "deal" with supporting you. It's their freaking job. Most of mine are pretty fantastic, but there are a couple who missed the mark. Lucky for them, there's always a new, or general, or even an acquaintance who steps in to carry that burden. I have plenty of those wonderful people in my life. Many I've never even met.

I have a friend who calls me all the time. I rarely answer, but she still calls. She leaves messages just saying that she misses me. That matters. A lot. Even if I am the worst friend on the planet right now. Grief is debilitating and selfish. I'm stuck thinking about my own pit of sadness and can't deal with smalltalk or the stress of worrying about how others are feeling. It's much easier just to talk with women who have been there and understand this crazy sadness. A fellow BLM who I greatly respect wrote about this recently.

Maybe I've just made all my thoughts crazy and convoluted, but I'll try to summarize pretty quickly:
  • Regular friends, work colleagues and acquaintances need not bring up our babies all the time, but they are welcome to do so. We love talking about our babies and feeling as though we carry expertise in this baby department, because we do. But, I don't need constant acknowledgment just for the sake of it. Be natural, feel natural. We can read awkwardness all over you, but appreciate the effort.
  • Those few core friends should be more concerned with how we're handling this baby grief. They should be asking how we're surviving and be on the other line of the phone just to listen. Listen. That's all we need sometimes. And they sort of have an expected requirement to acknowledge we are mothers and that our babies are important. Maybe not everyday and every time we talk, but it's nice every now and again. If it's hard, suck it up. You're a core friend for a reason.
Don't have a clever closing... but since I love that song so much, here's another I recently pulled out of the archives... and to make it even better, it's a clip from All That, you know, when Nickelodeon used to play shows that teenagers actually wanted to watch.:


    Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

    My core friends have let me down for sure. We've become distant over the years, but when Adam died, they stepped up. Now, it's hit and miss. Just went to a bbq with them last week and NOT ONE asked about him or said his name. I left very hurt and just drained. I told my mom, I get that people don't know what to say or that they're uncomfortable or whatever, but I think it's rude and just mean. Suck it up and at least ask, can we talk about it. I'm happy to have newer friends and internet friends that are there 24/7. Thanks for posting this. A lot of my friends read my blog, and I can't vent about a lot of this.

    Newlywed Next Door said... [Reply to comment]

    I was talking to another internet friend about this. All and all I've had a couple of core friends that were good and the rest were absolute sh*t. Like a couple of my close friends barely even acknowledged by loss. Now I don't really even want to be friends with them. My best guess is that they just don't "get it". This whole process has made me feel more alone than I have in my whole life.

    katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

    I feel you, girl.

    I have a couple of friends who have been wonderful. I have others who haven't said anything.

    Still some people at my office haven't said one thing to me about it.

    I understand that they don't know whether they should say anything, so they don't.

    But still.

    I feel you! Sending good vibes and prayers your way.

    Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

    The other thing about this is that my core friends also have to figure out how to deal with the fact that the way I feel and the extent to which I want to talk about Eliza changes from day to day or moment to moment. Grief is a big black pit, but it's also a minefield.

    Mostly though I just wish you could find a video of your 5th grade performance because I am sure it was awesome.

    Ben and Katie said... [Reply to comment]

    This has been a very hard thing for me on our journey. I have a few close friends but they have their lives too. I don't really know who to go to besides the Lord sometimes. I take things to Ben but right now it is different with him. Thank you for posting this and knowing now I am not the only one out there with this difficulty!