Helpless

I’m not sure if this post is disconnected or really conveys what I’m feeling. Still, I needed to type it.

One of my very best friends is my roommate from college. We lived on the same floor in the dorms my freshman year, and we ended up living together throughout the whole rest of my college career. After we graduated, we maintained contact, but being in different cities (even different countries for a while) makes it difficult to keep our old connection. Email just isn’t the same as face to face conversation.

A few years ago, not long after we graduated, my friend’s mom suddenly got a brain tumor. She fought long and hard dealing with surgery and lots of chemo. It was a scary time. Everything happened so quickly, and my friend really wasn’t ready to lose him mom (though, really, who’s ever ready for that). I tried to offer my support and my ear, but there was really nothing I could do.

Luckily, his mom made it through the ordeal with flying colors. She recovered quite well. Everything seemed fine until about a month ago. My friend’s mom fell in her backyard and broke her hip. After surgery and staying in the hospital for a long time, she returned home, but she still had pain in her leg. Moreover, she had lost a lot of use of the left side of her body. My friend and his dad had to take care of her basically 24 hours a day.

Just yesterday, my friend and his family received the news that my friend’s mom’s brain tumor had returned, only deeper into her brain, so deep in fact that previous treatment methods would be mostly ineffectual.

 It had actually been about nine months since I last emailed my friend until this week. I tried to restart communication between us, because I really don’t like going for so long without talking to my best friend (I hate the idea of growing apart). But it seems that I have bad timing. When my friend sent me the email telling me all of the recent developments with his mom, I was at a loss for words.

Obviously, there’s nothing I can do or say that can really make things better for my friend or his mom. I originally had wanted to catch up with him on how he’s doing, but it all seems so trivial now. I certainly can’t just shoot the breeze or talk about how I’ve been.

As his (former?) best friend, I want to be there for him and give him a great big hug. He lives about 8 or 9 (driving) hours away from me though, so it’s difficult to be there for him in person. The only thing I can do at this point is offer my thoughts and deepest sympathies to him and his family and let him know that I’m always there for him if he needs me.

Knowing that my friend is going through so much makes me feel terrible that I can’t do anything to help him. I really wish I could do more. I feel so helpless, though I’m sure my friend and his family feel even moreso.

I absolutely hate it when I grow apart from my friends, especially since we were best friends. But when this ordeal is eventually resolved, I feel like my friend will have had to grow up much more quickly than me. I’m not sure how things can ever be the same. Things are so rough for him and his family, I can’t even imagine.

This whole situation has been weighing on my mind all day today. In the end, all the stress I have about sales, my financial situation, and my future are pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things. The things that truly matter in life are your friends and family.

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4 Responses to “Helpless”

  1. Amy Says:

    I think that offering your support is all you can do – maybe let him know that he can call/email you whenever he needs someone to listen?

  2. Lisa Says:

    You know something, it IS OK to still make small talk with your friend and ask him about the other things in his life. Sometimes when going through stuff like that, talking about the more mundane makes a person feel a little more normal and in touch with himself. It’s perfectly OK to say something like, “I’m so sorry about what your family is facing. That totally sucks.” Then let him write back and say, thanks, or whatever he says. Once you’ve covered the basic sympathies, start asking him about other stuff… if he’s dating anyone, his career, etc. It’s really OK to do it. He’ll be relieved you aren’t babying him, if he’s like most people. And chances are he’ll like hearing your end of things and what you’re up to, also… so don’t be shy about doing a little sharing.

  3. A Phone Call I Had To Take « Normal Boy Says:

    […] Remember my best friend who recently found out his mom’s brain tumor returned? He called me today […]

  4. Bad Things « Normal Boy Says:

    […] an even more depressing note, my best friend sent a mass email this morning containing the obituary for his mom. She passed away yesterday. I […]


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