One of my very best friends from a long time ago called me last week to talk about her baby who is undergoing testing for medical and developmental issues. Understandably, she is upset, sad, tired, discouraged…all the normal feelings you have when you find out your child has special needs.
In the middle of her sharing about her difficult time, she apologized for not being there for me when I was going through the same thing several years ago. She told me she never understood what I was going through until now. She wished she had been a better friend to me back then.
I was dumbstruck when she said it. I kind of blew it off and told her not to even give it a second thought.
And I meant for her to not give it a second thought. I, on the other hand, have given it many thoughts. I even cried when we got off the phone (and remember I am not a crier.) For someone to say what she said to me meant a lot. I have no anger or bad feelings to anyone who does not understand what we went through in the beginning and what we go through every day. The acknowledgement from my friend helps to validate my experience, my feelings and situation. It helps me feel normal.
There are times when I have hurt thinking about things I never dreamed of when it came to Ben, and I have felt alone, misunderstood and psychotic. The feelings can be deep. And it seems like no one could possibly understand. On the other hand, it is frustrating and confusing when they do not understand.
For someone to truly understand what another person is going through, they have to be willing to feel those painful emotions. And who really wants to go there if they don’t have to.
So I say to my friend, thank you for sharing your feelings with me. It has made me feel stronger, more loved and better understood. Your honesty is the best support you could have given me.