The last two weeks or so has been really hard on my friends. I have two friends about to lose their moms to strokes. Another friend just found out that his mom has lymphoma.
I feel like I'm a shitty friend. While these aren't super close friends, I've met and spent time with their moms. Both are fun, fabulous women. About a month ago, they both had a stroke in the same week. Both seemed to get better, and were sent home or to a rehab facility. Both have taken horrible turns for the worse. They aren't expected to make it much longer.
If these were close friends, I'd know what to do. As they aren't, I sit back and send my love and happy thoughts, and cry for totally selfish reasons. Yes, I'm horribly sad for my friends, but I can't NOT think, "what if this was my mom?" That makes me a fucking wreck.
There are two thought places I just can't go, losing my son or losing my mother. If the worst were to happen... I can't imagine ever getting up off the floor. My brain just goes numb.
When I was younger, I couldn't imagine being an adult. I felt certain I would die before I was 18. When that didn't happen, I figured it would be before I was 21, simply because I couldn't imagine myself beyond that point. I now understand why I couldn't... and still don't consider myself a grown-up. But when I look at the "Don't Go There" places.. it's the same numb nothingness.
I don't know how to be there for my friends, as a secondary friend. (I don't say secondary like it's a bad thing.... that's simply the truth of it.) My place is not there, with them.. holding hands and being a shoulder to cry on. There are closer friends who belong there, and are. I just wish I could send my support in a more coherent, unguarded way. Unfortunately, my words of love and support are shallow and choppy because of the guarded place I go when thinking about their situation. It's so hard to turn off the personal aspects and make it all about them.
I've had life shattering loss before. There's nothing anyone can do for you. I don't know if people can give you enough support. I don't know that any support really helps. You have a process and you go through it. Hysteria, pain, the long period of numbness, grief and acceptance, then the healing. Charmin died 23 years ago this October... and I'm still healing. The period of numbness lasted the majority of my 8th grade year and I have very few memories if it. The healing has come in spurts. Many times I've felt that I was over it, then it all comes back. That's probably natural in this sort of situation.
I so badly want to tell them that they have a rare opportunity. While watching someone die slowly sucks beyond belief, it gives you the chance to make your peace with each other and express all the things that would haunt you if you couldn't. I didn't have this chance with Charmin. Her death was sudden and unexpected. I did get it with my grandfather and even though it was hard to see him lying in that hospital bed, knowing that I would never hear his voice again, knowing that I'd never get to tell him again how much I love him and hearing him tell me once last time that he loves me. Experiencing the last time I would EVER willingly let someone call me Krissy. Precious moments that I wouldn't trade for anything. Gifts. Each second is a precious, totally selfish, GIFT.
Use them well.
But I don't know how to relate that without sounding totally trite.