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renewing friendships


swilkinson

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Friendship- I often say I have no friends but of course it is not true. I have kept friends from every part of my life. From my time in England I have the cousins who write to me at Christmas and the granddaughter of the old man next door who writes, rings and home hosted Ray and I in England in 1994 and 1998. She is a long distance friend who I cherish and long to be with again.

 

Tonight we had a phone call from an old friend from my pre-teens, inviting us to dinner with them at a local club. I was there with Ray and my temper intact at 6.30pm. Okay, I am taking a bow here and awaiting your applause. Only one hours notice and we were there - a remarkable feat in my eyes. These friends bring me back memories of a difficult time in our lives, my Dad building our house, having barely enough money to live on, vegetables from the garden and eggs from Mum’s hens being our main source of food. Being invited to eat at their house was such a treat for me then.

 

I have kept in contact with friends from my school days, from Infants, Primary and High school, which was the way school was ranked in my time. I have one friend who I have known since I was seven and just love it when the phone rings and it is her. We can almost finish each other’s sentences we were once so close. Sadly it is months sometimes before we are in contact. Such is a caregiver’s life.

 

I’ve kept in contact with old neighbours and friends from each of our stations in Fisheries, old work mates of Ray’s and their wives, friends of our kids from school and Scouting, all the major sections of our lives. I’ll keep up the contacts as long as I can, I don’t need them to always understand me as long as they accept the validity of the situation I am in.

 

BUT…who are the friends I value most now? You all know the answer to that. The ones who understand about Ray’s strokes, the ones who don’t expect us to be at their beck and call, who don’t suggest we meet them in places that are not wheelchair accessible etc. I know you should not let the strokes dominate your life but the deficits from the stroke demand that certain criteria be met before we caregivers get to relax and have a good time, don’t they? Unlike the “disabled friendly” restaurant we went to where the bathrooms were up a flight of stairs and I was there with Ray in a wheelchair!

 

Today we were asked to look after our grand daughter. It was our pleasure as she is fun to be with. She has ten stitches in her knee as a boy was teasing her and she lunged forward and tripped over a grate and that was sufficient to give her a deep cut requiring stitches. She asked me who the cards I am writing were for and I told her about a lot of people who have been a significant part of our past who we still try to keep in touch with. Every card I write I send with our genuine love and every card we receive has a story behind it, even if there are no words in it other than “love from” it still means they are alive and alert enough to send a card to the right address.

 

I still try and keep up with a handful of Mum’s old friends as I want them to know when she passes. It is such a long time now she has been in care, nine years now, that I am sure there are people she once knew who think she is probably already dead. So I want a small number to know she is alive and in what circumstances.

 

I send a short cheery letter with each card. I don’t tell the recipient about the bad BMs, the chest colds that went on and on all last winter, the way I feel about Ray some days and how close he is to being too much for me to cope with. Instead I have a sentence or two about each family member and tell them Ray is healthy and stable and I am coping okay. Which basically is true today but may not be true tomorrow.

 

I appreciate the friends I have made here. It is nice to have people I am in constant contact with, who do understand and in many cases have been here done this. It is nice that I have had some friends here for the 5 1/2 years I have been on Strokenet and some who have only recently entered my orbit but have become good friends in a short period of time. In particular I want to thank my chat group for their friendship and support.

 

Christmas time is largely advertised as being about family, gift giving, presents under the Christmas tree. It is depicted as being about people seated around groaning tables ladened down with Christmas goodies. But to me it is about renewing friendships too.

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Sue,

 

Your blogs keep me going some days. There's so much going on I haven't been online in over a month, but I still manage to read your blogs. You have such a way with words. I can't tell you how much I appreciate and enjoy your writings and sharing your thoughts and feelings.

 

You are my friend, never met, but you are my friend. God bless and keep you safe.

 

MJ

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Sue:

 

due to great writers & bloggers like you I don't think my stroke as a disaster, its inconvience in my life but I got to meet wonderful people here on strokenet due to it.

 

Asha

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Sue, I too count my blessings in my friends, old and new. I often take time out this time of year to express my thanks for all the support and love we have been shown. My cyberspace friends are truly in my heart. Debbie

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Sue,

 

I love reading your blogs - it makes my day or evening. Keep on writing. I know you are my friend since I met you on Strokenet over 5 years ago. Merry Christmas Sue.

Love,

Mary Goldberg :You-Rock:

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