Saturday, April 25, 2009

Trying to be a good friend

My dear friend has had breast cancer. I can't write her name next to those words, one because I want to protect her privacy and two because I can't bear seeing her much loved name next to those awful words.

She has been through utter hell over the last few weeks, an absolute helter-skelter ride where just when she thought she'd knew where she was everything changed again. She has now had a major operation which hopefully will put paid to this dreadful, unfair bastard of a disease. I've already told her if breast cancer was a person I would go out and beat it up for her, pacifist and utter wuss though I am!

Trying to be a good friend to someone when they are under this kind of pressure is a challenge. On the one hand you know they have to invest an enormous amount of emotional energy in just coping with the day-to-day issues so you don't want to overwhelm them with your sympathy and emoting, a lot of which I suspect is as much about you as them. On the other hand, you want them to know that you are there for them, would do anything to help them and won't abandon them when the going gets tough.

And so today I did what I do best. I went shopping! I got her a few little things that she wanted that will make her feel nice. In the big scheme of things it isn't a lot but at least it's something practical I can do to help and looking for special things she needed gave me a positive focus for my own feelings about what has occurred. There really is such a thing as retail therapy then.

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