Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Essay: To Befriend or not to Befriend

December 2008

I believe when a person becomes ill that it is ok not to have friends. Do not misunderstand, this is not a woe is me story. Let me explain. Within seven years I went from being a healthy, vibrant, employed teacher to an unhealthy, idle, unemployed person. The latter is what formed my belief.
In August 2001 I lost my oldest son. It is this overwhelming sadness I deal with daily that was the start of my newly acquired philosophy. This loss was followed by a diagnosis of leukemia in November 2003. Being fully aware of how friends and family are most important at such trying times, the friends component was quickly diminishing.
Between my sadness and treating a chronic illness with daily chemo, the failure of friends to empathize provided more destructive attitude than positive for me. I do not want pity friends.
I will expound my belief that it is ok not to have friends when a person becomes ill. My body is deteriorating due to osteoarthritis. In July 2007 I had an unsuccessful total knee replacement. I cannot sit, stand or walk for an extended period of time. I have tried going places and doing things, but I suffer beyond explanation afterwards and it is that very explanation that is impossible to express accurately to others. When I did have a life after the hours of teaching, I loved walking the Las Vegas Strip, walking the city parks, dating, going to concerts, and basically having a fun and active life. Currently all has changed due to my poor health, hence my choice not to have friends.
I continued to work until October 2008, during which my ailments progressed causing me to take medical leave. This has lead to my early total and permanent disability retirement at age fifty-four which has affected every aspect of my life.
Today my life is much different. I do not have to say no and make excuses to others. No one calls. No one knocks at the door. I have modified my home and life to accommodate my disabilities. I realize my belief goes against my family’s concerns and every self help guru and book currently written about the importance of friends.
I am content and happy with my choice. I will devote my time to writing a book. I have no idea regarding its content, but it will be fiction and it will be fun. My inspiration to write came after hearing Dan Gediman on Book TV talking about the writers in the This I Believe books. This essay will be the springboard for my own writing venture and I will be successful at it, This I Believe.


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