I can't quite put my finger on it. I don't know if it's everyone else, or if it's me...I can't make up my mind. I still hear from my friends. They still call or text...sometimes. Most of them, anyway. But it always seems uncomfortable, like they're calling because they feel like they should, or 'just seeing how things are going'. There's a lot of acting like things are normal, feeling awkward, not knowing whether I should make mention of any of the changes in our life or pretend like they're the same as they ever were. When I do mention Jackson's CF, or treatments, or anything of the sort, I feel like it's all I ever talk about, when I don't, I feel like I'm denying it. I'm not comfortable either way.
At first it was perfunctory, at the very least, to ask if I was okay, or if there was anything they could do. The sympathetic head tilt was almost requisite. But as time has progressed, it's become clear that the dynamic has changed, and none of us really know how. I don't really know how to talk to people anymore, and I'm fairly certain they don't know what to say to me. I could stand in front of congress and give a speech right now, but I probably couldn't tell my best friend the ups and downs and everything I've been through. I'm hoping it's just another step in the ongoing process.
But then there are the friends who don't call. There's one in particular that's been noticably absent, although to be honest, that began when I got pregnant. I always figured it was because I couldn't go out and drink and be ridiculous for a while. This friend in particular I've butted heads with since the day we met, but always thought it was just how we interacted. I thought surely if there were ever anything really wrong, something legitimate- she'd be there. The one time I did see her it was because someone else had told her to visit. And it wasn't the best moment- in fact, it was one of the roughest nights we had after the diagnosis. I'm sure some of what went down that night was uncomfortable for her to see, and I'm glad she left when she did. But what happened to our die hard, us against the world family love for each other? Is it only valid when I defend you in a barfight? Ugh. I could devote an entire blog to how hurt I am that it was ok to stick it out through petty fights for years and then disappear when something genuinely goes wrong.
Well, I suppose the right thing to do is chalk it up to one lesson learned, and the other an ongoing period of adjustment. I have changed, and am renegotiating pieces of myself. I can't expect it all to be easy. And I can't expect everyone to be along for the ride. So maybe I'll be awkward for a while. Maybe I'll lose a few 'friends' along the way. I should stop and think about all the people who have come into my life because of this and be grateful for them rather than lament the loss of a falsehood.
And it's not like I'm at a loss for awesome. This is our first family portrait. Why yes, we do rock!