A month ago Ernie, Ruth & Co. came to visit for the 4th of July! We enjoyed a whole week of Tan Family Funfest, Southern Style. There was a lot of food consumption (we are Tans, after all – and those we have happily welcomed into our family via marriage totally get the Tan family philosophy of eating), laughing, and mayhem in general. It was fabulous.
Ai Ai snapped the photo above of Josh and Karine as they walked into church that Sunday. These two have grown up together, and although they live in different states now instead of just a street away from each other, the old bond remains strong. To review:
Their friendship is classic and never goes out of style. I love the classics. I read the same books over and over, which is good since I don’t rely on my eyes as much anymore, but I can still recall all of those obscure Austen references. I also love classic clothing silhouettes – but I am somewhat limited now in that I require soft “rehab” pants and ankle weights and shorts/skirts are NOT a cute look.
But classic friendships have been among my chief enjoyments as my recovery has panned out. I’ve had the opportunity to make many new friends, (YAY!) but it was the friends I had already made who gathered at the hospital to pray for me, who flew from Maryland to Oregon to see me, and wrote me letters that brightened my days as an inpatient.
As time has passed and I have suddenly appeared online (e.g. on Facebook for the first time in the history of mankind), I’ve come to understand that the crucial period of my initial illness has long past and while many people dropped everything to pray for me, the urgent matters of life have taken priority as I’ve moved from the “critical” to the “recovery” phase of illness. This is in no way a value judgment – I “get” that this is the perfectly natural progression of events.
That’s why I have been so thankful for the old friends who have stuck with me and made the effort to become part of my life again. This would have been a perfect time for people to fade out of my life – it’s natural that friends come into your life for a season, and then the relationship might wane. I understood this in theory before I got sick. When I understood that I had lost almost everything when my brain bled I assumed this meant friends, too. Not in an “I’m not going to be your friend anymore,” sort of way, but in a “Life goes on” sort of way. The problem is that my life didn’t go on, the time lapse in my head was minimal, and the relatively recent realization that everyone else’s world has kept on turning and I no longer have a part in the action has been another heartbreaking thing about this situation.
I wrote an email to a friend a few months ago with the subject line: For a Rainy Day. I remember a moment of lucidity at RIO (3rd Hospital) – I was in my wheelchair brushing my teeth (thanks, OT!) and I looked at Mommy in the mirror and asked, “Does P know?” I think Ai Ai contacted her when I got home. Soon an Eeyore necklace arrived in our mailbox bc “Eeyore” was the nickname she had given me when we worked together. The purpose of that email was just to thank her for being a good friend – I said I understood now that she didn’t have to make an effort at cultivating our friendship, but she did, and I will always remember that.
Some of my staunchest friends are the ones I grew up with, or who grew up similar to how I did. Some of them come from vastly different backgrounds than I do. The point is that something big happened to me, and I’m grateful for those who remembered what I was like before I got sick and stuck around to find out what I’d be like after I got sick. Thanks <3.
P.S. I’m largely the same person. I checked with Hannah.
P.P.S. I need to share a few more pics that I’ve never posted before.