Who Has Your Back?

I’ve spent the last year nursing my husband through three hip replacements. (No, he is not that strange anomaly, a biped with three hips–his first surgery required revision.) I’ve had an opportunity to think about “who had our back” multiple times through this experience. Today, my man was pronounced FREE from restrictions following the second surgery. To commemorate the occasion, I share Melodee Currier’s essay, “Who Has Your Back.”

By Melodee Currier

 

Do you really know who your friends are?  I thought I had several good friends, but one year after a serious car accident, I thought no one had my back.

I figured when I posted on Facebook that my husband and I were “rushed by ambulance to the trauma center, our clothes were cut off and our car was totaled,” that was a big clue we were in bad shape and could use some help.

Imagine how stunned I was when a year later I realized we hadn’t received one telephone call, one visit or even a morsel of food from our so-called friends.  The most a couple friends did was send an email, but they didn’t follow it up.  The only ones who called were family – and that was it.  There is just one exception – a high school friend of my husband, who we aren’t even in touch with, sent us a restaurant gift card.

The only thing I really asked for were prayers and I know I received those because every day I noticed God’s healing miracles.

I would have also loved a call, a visit, a quick trip to the grocery or even a casserole or two, but my poor husband, who had also been injured, had to do everything for me because for several weeks I could barely get up to go to the bathroom.

At first, I hardly noticed the lack of support because I spent my time just trying to get through each day.   As time went on though, I couldn’t help but notice that no one was calling or visiting.  They had to know we were going through the toughest time of our lives.

When my friends suffered their own challenges, I was there for them – spending hours on the phone counseling them, calling to see how they were doing, meeting them for a walk or lunch, taking them food or a gift.

I even knitted a beautiful prayer shawl for one of these friends, but in my hour of need she didn’t call me for months and when she finally did, she said, “I didn’t know what to say.”  I wanted to say — ask what happened, ask how we’re doing and ask if there is anything you can do to help.  That was the last time we spoke.

And, I was amazed when I told a couple friends I wanted to bring over food for them following their hospitalizations, they said I didn’t need to because they had so many people bringing over food.

During lunch with another friend she mentioned that she read on my Facebook page about our car accident, but didn’t even send me an email.

A couple weeks after the accident, my husband spoke to our neighbors outside and told them about it.  They could see that our lawn was overgrown and while they were empathetic, they didn’t offer to help mow it.  We weren’t able to find anyone to do it, so my husband mowed it himself against doctor’s orders.

The biggest surprise involved a close friend I’ve had for nearly twenty years.  She happened to call the day after I got home from the hospital, but didn’t know we had been in an accident.  I haven’t heard from her since.  Fair weather friends only want to be with you when the sun is shining.

One year later I was left feeling friendless, abandoned, shocked, sad, angry and disappointed and at a loss to understand how friends can ignore you when you need them most.

When I couldn’t figure out why people were silent, I saw a therapist.  Even though I felt better after a few sessions, not having a tangible answer to my dilemma still bothered me.

Then the answers slowly came to me.  I finally realized that my friends’ lack of support wasn’t personal.  They may have thought others were helping us and we didn’t need their help; they didn’t want to bother us; they didn’t know what to say or do; or  they didn’t want to get close to us for fear of it happening to them.

The Course in Miracles teaches that everything is either based on love or fear and I realized that concentrating on “why” wasn’t important.  I needed to elevate my own thoughts of fear (they didn’t care about me) to thoughts of love (they did the best they could).  As Eckhart Tolle said, “When you complain, you make yourself a victim.  Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it.  All else is madness.”

After I truly accepted the situation and realized my friends did the best they could, I felt so calm and relaxed.  I’m not a victim — I have my own back now and that’s empowering.

© 2016 Melodee Currier

Mel Currier left corporate America in 2008 where she was an intellectual
property paralegal.  Since then she has devoted her time to writing and has
had numerous articles published on a wide variety of topics.   Her articles
can be read on her website www.melodeecurrier.com. Mel is an occasional contributor to True Stories Well Told.

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About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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