I wanted to write this blog about young adults witnessing their parent sick for many reasons that were close to me. One of them is that I, too, have been a sole witness of seeing someone in my family being sick. And it has not been some temporary inconvenience, but long-term.
Another reason is that not too recently, a close friend of mine, a young adult, have been distant for some time now. It was almost one day we were talking, and the very next day they’d disappeared. Now, if you were the friend of that person, you would immediately know that something was wrong. You start to investigate – You begin to reach out to them, call, text, instant message, knock at their door or what have you. You utilize all communication resources that’s there, in order to understand more about their situation, to show that you care and are deeply concerned.
So what happens when you do hear from them and get a response, but a negative response? That’s a tricky one. I was shocked too, when I was met with an aggressive behavior, and almost felt blamed for the still mysterious issue that they were having. This wasn’t like them to hold back, to carry all that burden by themselves. I wanted to share that burden with them to be honest, although I still didn’t know what it was, my empathy took over, and I was ready. It was like losing an once close part of you, and not knowing how to glue the other half back together to see it well again. How could I help?
It was like seeing a dear one struggle with a darkness that they could not beat, and I wasn’t going to let them fight it alone.
Though they were obviously angry, and in an unbalanced state, in the end, out of their own frustration, after letting down their defense, they sharply told me that their parent was very ill. I could understand why that they’d be angry at the world, and most probably at God. I know that rebellious phase, I see it happen all the time. I was in two places all at once after receiving the breaking news. One was that as a friend, I had to pardon their attitude, and two, my heart and eyes had begun to swell up for them. So yes, it was very overwhelming. Some would probably ask why weren’t they upfront in the beginning? And that’s very true and all, but we must understand it coming from the mind of a person in pain. I loved them very much, and their heightened emotions couldn’t stop me from giving them love. After giving me a quick goodbye, I finally understood and left them to grieve. I would say, that I had also went to grieve silently afterwards, too. The empath in me took over.
Now, it’s easy to feel guilt as a caregiver and disappointed after trying to help a friend or someone close to you, but from healthcare experience, I would say please don’t feel that way. It’s natural to feel bad, but use that moment to release it, get over it and empathize with that person, and forgive them. Of course their attitude was inexcusable, but what they were going through was too close to home for them. The thing is, not everyone knows how to cope with a fresh, and dramatic experience. It’s rather frightening for most because their mind starts to think a lot about what could happen, and then it’s easy for their present moment to not mean anything anymore. Living in the future becomes their reality, and quite sadly, they begin to neglect themselves, and health in the present. Even friends, and relationships are affected by this change.
Pain changes people. I know that you’ve probably heard that before, or have gone through this same very dilemma. It’s very true, because it’s so easy for a person to get wrapped up in their pain and emotions that nothing matters anymore. That person becomes so numb, that they may feel like they don’t have much hope left in the world. But that’s not true, there’s always hope if any of you are reading this. The good thing is, pain changes people, but pain doesn’t last forever. We can still have back our friend, our partner and our family, but we must also give them space and time to regain clarity. If you ever played an important part of their life, they will come back.
After some time, and they’re gradually getting better, a suggestion of counselling could be a very helpful alternative at keeping them balanced. Also, have regular talks with them, let them know that you’re there for them, and that they’re in a safe place. Inviting them to join The Caregiver Space community here to relate to someone similar may also help. Now that they’re back, they need you more than ever, and it’s a very crucial and sensitive phase of nurturing. No human can do it alone, that’s why people have friends and family. I believe that everyone should have some form of a support system put in place. Know your support system, and know them well in cases of emergencies.
As for my loved friend – They’re going to be okay. I’ll make sure of that. 🙂
Do you have a support system, who are they? Leave your comments in the box below.