Monday, June 22, 2009
There are times, like now, when I feel very separated from people in my life. Life experiences I've had that most people in my life have not had seem to create something of a wall between me and them. Maybe it's a wall I myself create unwittingly. I just know that there are not many - if any - people in my life who can relate to having dropped out of high school and been a teenage runaway . . . having been on the receiving end of physical abuse from a spouse for many years . . . having a spouse die - let alone die of a drug overdose . . . having six children . . . having twins . . . having a baby with Down syndrome . . . having a husband with cancer . . . or all of those things. That's not to say that my friends and acquaintances haven't experienced their own brand of shit, and it's not to say that there aren't people out there who have experienced much more trauma than I have. And really, this isn't about "Oh, woe is me, what a hard life I've had." Not that I would have chosen half of this shit, but it's all made me who I am today, and how can I complain about that? What I'm trying to get at is just that there are times when these things leave me feeling isolated, an outsider, times when I can't help but feel that people who know me see me as something of an oddity. And maybe it even makes them uncomfortable.
And by the same token, there are life experiences that a lot of my friends and acquaintances have that I just can't relate to. When my friends talk about their college days (which seems to be a big topic for reminiscing over), I can't relate. I have no idea what it's like to have a close-knit extended family. When my girlfriends have all had their babies and had mothers who came to stay with them to help out, nope, can't fathom what that's like either. And this fosters separation between us, too.
Now it's the cancer thing. I am positive that it's driven a few people away. People who gave so much to us in the aftermath of Finn's birth, and who have shared plenty of good times with us, too. But they are clearly absent from our lives now. People who write breezy updates on their Facebook pages but have not offered a single word of support or well wishes, or even an inquiry as to how Michael is doing, since he was diagnosed in February. People who, if confronted with this fact, I am sure would say something along the lines of "Oh, life has been so busy . . ." or "We didn't want to bother you . . ."
It hurts. I don't think I'm that kind of friend. I'd like to think that no matter how busy I might be, I would find the time to offer some kind of support to someone I called a friend who was going through a crisis. I'd like to think that if any of these people were faced with such a crisis, that they wouldn't be deserted by any of their friends.
Nobody owes us anything, and I hope that's not how this comes across. All the help, support, food, etc. that we have received is deeply appreciated. But I suspect that our life has just gotten too uncomfortable for some people. It has separated us.