My daughter has struggled to keep friends through the ups and downs of being chronically ill. I’ve watched this happen for years and have been thankful for the understanding friends that she has been able to hang on to. There are a few. I can’t say that kids have been mean, because they haven’t. You can’t even tell by looking at her that there is anything wrong. But there was one girl who stopped talking to my daughter when the term “Celiac Disease” was mentioned. It was almost as if this girl thought it was something contagious.
“You should feel sorry for HER for being uneducated and ignorant” was all I could tell my daughter 3 years ago when she came home from school in tears. Of course, it didn’t help. It never does.
Thankfully those times have come and gone. My daughter is three years older now and although she still needs a little bit of guidance in how to deal with certain people, she has beautifully mastered the art of attitude and sarcasm. What’s most important to her are the friends who have been there from the beginning. The ones who knew her before she found out she was sick. The ones who haven’t run away or stopped calling. The ones who try to understand her disease and not ignore it. The ones who give her just as much shit as anyone else because they love her just the same.
My daughter’s best friend is that girl and she has become part of the family. She spends quite a bit of time with us and my daughter can go with her family without us having to worry. So when we got a phone call that something was seriously wrong, our hearts were broken. The BFF had just returned from vacation with her family when her mom ended up in the hospital. She had a stroke. The damage was apparently so bad that there was no hope and they had decided to turn off life support. My daughter was heart broken.
We jumped in the car and drove to the hospital to be with the daughter’s BFF. My daughter was with her friend when the doctors came in and told her that her mom had just passed. It was horrible. She stayed with us for a couple days while her older sister and brother-in-law planned their mom’s funeral. It seems we’ve been surrounded by death these last couples of years. First one grandma, then another, my 16 year old cousin, my husband’s grandmother and then this.
My daughter’s friend moved in with her older sister, who is just a few years younger than me and has a son the same age as my youngest. After all, the girls met because the boys played baseball together a few years back. I think the move has been good for her. She is living in a more stable environment than she previously was. The only downfall would have to be scheduling. She has moved into a home of a baseball family and schedules are hectic. The girls haven’t been able to spend as much time together in person, which has been hard fro my daughter, but they talk on the phone ALL THE TIME.
It’s been a couple months now but she just isn’t the same girl we knew. She smiles, she jokes, she laughs but there is something missing. My daughter can see it too.
I know how she feels.