Support came and went, but in some cases there was none offered. Silence reigned heavy. Close friends, friends with whom I had shared my life with, nurturing an ever perceivable awkward, distant reticence which, even now, is uncomprehensible.
Here is a series of emails sent between myself and one friend some three months after E's diagnosis. We are no longer in contact; life has moved on, we are walking very different paths, but memories of the good times are never forgotten.
I was just thinking about you today.
I thought that I would have heard from you over the past few months.
It has even made me wonder whether you got the initial email back in june?
hope that you and the girls are all well
To be honest I didn't know what to say...
Difficult to try and talk about such things from so far away
Looked after a child with SMA
Must be very difficult for you both with a lot of uncertainties
On a 5 week vocation right now
Try and talk to you soon.
Yes, it's difficult to know what to say but sometimes it's better to say something rather than nothing. this was one such time!
but you're not alone. we have had support from those we didn't expect it from and no support from those we did.
difficult, I know... but what we are going through is hell...
It's hard to know what to say in times of difficulty, but to say something - anything - is better than nothing at all. Something demonstrates acknowledgement. Something lets the person know that you are thinking about them, extending compassion and establishing a heartfelt - and most welcomed - connection. Yes, you may stumble on your words. Yes, you may worry about saying something wrong but please realise this, nothing you say will make the situation worse - nothing. To remain silent, to say nothing, creates an overwhelming sense of abandonment and isolation: no one wants to feel alone in times of difficulty.