Building Relationships When Living With Disease

The good news for us was that the friends who were able to show up and the friendships forged after the disease was well into play, have been reliable, steady and true.

After a disease is diagnosed, some relationships will change or end.

We all have different abilities in accepting a friend on different terms than the friendship started with. The combination of different capacities for adjustment, empathy and willingness to relate to a person dealing with hard challenges all affect friendship.

When our daughter was in dating mode, she was interested in a certain guy and her interest was heightened because he had known and liked her dad before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

When I was desperately in need of help with Andy’s care, I was surprised at who came to our aid and who never showed up.

At the time I felt hurt when certain people dear to me receded from our lives. Now, with time as a perspective adjuster, I have a better understanding of hidden weakness and hidden strength. Weakness is a valid reason we are sometimes unable to show up for each other, especially in hard circumstances. After all, we are all growing.

The good news for us was that the friends who were able to show up and the friendships forged after the disease was well into play, have been reliable, steady and true.

As Andy’s caregiver, I have to work harder than I did before to keep our relationships alive. For the most part, after Parkinson’s, we stopped being invited to dinners, potlucks, meetings at restaurants, parties or events. Since this only happened after Andy’s illness became our reality, I conclude that many people are not okay being around someone who exhibits disability.

To remedy this, I pay very close attention to the way people are when our lives intersect with theirs’. I host many parties and potlucks and events at our home and “jury” who to invite. The ‘winners” are the ones most at ease with Andy.

I initiate communication between Andy and his brother and with our kids and assorted family members through email, video chat apps, and zoom calls. All this is not easy. Also, it is not hard. What it is, is new, and different from what used to be.

Many people don’t like it when life presents new opportunities.

When disease pokes into a life, response will be more useful and successful when new situations are able to be embraced.

It is always a good experiment for a person to put aside something in their familiar routine and to try something new.  Living gracefully with something new is one of the ways towards living in wellness while also living with a disease.

See what happens: fun? resistance? laughter? anger? acceptance?

Spread the Love

Be the first to reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *