The Friends Who Stayed When I Needed Them Most
By: Amber Dorn
I have always been an "avoider" of difficult conversations. I am always on top of whatever is going on inside my head, but I very rarely articulate it. When I returned to college full-time, just 5 months after my life-altering accident, I needed a lot from those around me but never spoke up about it.
Some of my closest friends saw what I needed when I didn’t have the courage to ask for it-They’d ask for extra straws for the table, so I didn’t have to be embarrassed about needing one. They’d walk on my left side, so I could better hear them. They’d tell me to shut up when I would make a joke at my own expense.
Others, I lost because I never spoke up. Some of the friends I thought were as close as family to me, weren’t there when I needed them. I’m not sure if they would have been there if I asked, but they deserved the chance to be there for me. Some days, I just needed to be told that I was loved, that I was not a burden, that I was still whole. But I didn’t know how to ask for that, so they never gave it to me.
When I was in the hospital, I didn’t keep track of who came to visit me and who didn’t, but I couldn’t help but notice the friends (and family) that were there. The ones who flew literally across the country just to come hold my hand and have an entirely yes-or-no-question conversation with me. The ones who would bring me milkshakes, or fuzzy socks, or their latest boy drama. I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how grateful I am for those people. It just boggles my mind that anyone would be that nice to me.
Some of the friendships that didn’t survive my accident, I won’t regret losing. The funny thing about any life event like mine is that it weeds out the fair-weather friends. My recovery was a miracle, but it was ugly. And hard. And I was a total dark-cloud some days. But, those friends that are still around are the ones that hung around for the bad stuff, and I just hope I am delivering on the good stuff now.
A lot of people in my circle backed away after my accident. Maybe it was as traumatic for them as it was for my family, or maybe they just couldn’t be bothered to commit to sticking with me through this terrible situation. Whatever the case may be, I am sorry I didn’t ask for help, and I’m sorry I
let you fade away. But, I expected more from you. I spent so much time wondering what made you go away, but that was time wasted. Because when I needed it, I got more from those that cared. I’m sorry if my accident was hard for you. But, it was hard for me, too.
When I was struggling the very most, I just wish that my loved ones knew how much they mean to me. How much their love means to me, or how much their absence hurt. I wish I could have found the words to ask for help when I needed it most, but in hindsight, it was for the best. Because I am worthy of the love that has been given to me. And nothing less.