Losing friends

It is an unfortunate reality that most parents of children with leukemia lose friends.

For a variety of reasons, some friends just can't cope and either suddenly disappear or gradually fade away. Many times this can be prevented by calling them to keep them involved, but sometimes, they just can't handle the stress.

I had a friend who really thought herself to be empathetic, except that she just couldn't "deal with" hospitals. She said that they made her uncomfortable, so she wouldn't visit. I also got tired of her talking about the silver lining of the dark cloud that has been hanging over my head. So we stopped communicating.

We had friends and family we thought would be the greatest sources of support in the world. Yet, they pulled away from us and provided nothing in the way of help, emotional or otherwise. We also had friends that we never expected to understand step up in surprising ways. My wife's friend, Leslie, a busy single woman that we would never expect to do such a thing, actually negotiated time off with a new employer so that she could fly from her home in Tampa and help out after Garrett's bone marrow transplant. She stayed with us for over a week, then came back a few months later to do it again.

A couple of my "dive buddies" who we liked, but didn't know well, have since become our best friends. They would visit us inpatient, bringing both our kids gifts, and giving us a much-needed break. They were the only folks who regularly came by when Garrett was home after the BMT and who always followed our strict rules without complaint.

Of course, the best support we had was from other parents of kids with serious illnesses or problems.

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