friendship, love and truth


When I first became ill I had a rush of phone calls and emails from everyone I had had contact with over the years. It was overwhelming and lovely at the same time. Now four months later I notice a pattern that I find quite sad. Many people have pulled away. Many people have stopped calling. Friends who I still feel close to no longer come by. I get few phone calls from dear friends. Oddly, people who were not as involved in my life now are. It has been interesting to witness the relationships develop with people who I had not been as “close”to before my diagnosis. Of course some old friends have dug their heels in the dirt with me. Others have quietly walked away.

I find this whole dynamic confusing. Some people seem scared. Afraid to disturb me. Afraid of remaining close to someone who will likely not be here to support them in the future. People seem unsure what to say or how to say it. Most of my sadness right comes from the fact that I am lonely. I am often too sick to do fun things. I end up spending time alone in bed. I feel like I am not good company anymore. I have cancer. That is not fun. It has a tendency to bring things down.

I miss some of the people who used to be around. I wonder sometimes if I have hurt or offended them. I hope that they did not feel like I was too needy or difficult. Ultimately, I just miss my friends and my old care free life. I miss when things seemed more simple. I can not spend a lot of time dwelling on this however since my life will never be simple again. Right now most things are far from care free. I am overwhelmed with organizing a schedule for my surgery and radiation to make sure that my family has what they need and that I can get to and from my appointments. I am struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with my husband. I am trying to love my kids and be present. I am praying to be self less. And I imagine that as a friend it is just very difficult to watch.

When my friend Sara had cancer ( the second time) I did not call her for months at a time. She was with her parents in the suburbs and I did not think I could do anything for her. I wanted to be with her. But I did not know how. When she died I was overcome with grief. Why had I avoided her? I loved her so much. And I had not really let myself say good bye. I cry when I think of her. I miss her quirky style and dry wit. I missed out on being her friend. So I am saying I know how difficult and uncomfortable it is to be friends with someone who is dying. But I am not dying…yet.

Today, I am still here. And we are still friends. I can tell you I love you. And you can come visit and hug me. You can look me in the eye and we can share a meal. I am not dead yet.

9 Responses to “friendship, love and truth”

  1. warrior two says:

    We don’t know each other…and I can’t remember how I first found you. Basically because I don’t know what to say. But I feel bad because I’ve been reading, but not commenting. I’ve been following your story and rooting for you all the way. I still really don’t know what to say, but a lot of us out here are still here, even when you can’t see us. I think the quote is “Good friends are like stars…. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.”

  2. Sarah DeRose says:

    Dear Andrea,

    Remember me from Pennsylvania Oncology, I have not been there for a couple of months, things did not work out there the girls where not my kind of people.

    Last night I had a dream that I recieved an e-mail from you, you told me that you where doing okay. I got on her first thing Iam not working yet. Iam so glad to see that you are fighting this battle, I have often wondered how you where doing.

    It seems as if you are busy keeping up with everyday life, and all the other things you do not need.

    How’s the baby I bet hes getting big. Iam sure the other kids are back in school. Hows you honey doing? I will e-mail your regular e-mail address I have it in my wallet.

    You probley think Iam weird, I do believe in things out of the ordinary, and I though it strange how in your last blog that you wrote about your friend Sarah, and that I had the dream that you e-mailed me.

    I’ll check out the rest of your site stay well and strong and I will continue to pray for you and to keep in touch.


  3. Rob says:

    Hey, Darlin’.

    Just read this and wanted to say I love you. I’ll call you later to see if I can swing by this evening or tomorrow or both.


  4. Andrea says:

    I just want to say that this post was in no way a condemnation of any of my friends. To the contrary it is really just an observation about how difficult it must be to be a friend to someone who is terminally ill. Amy said that it is tough once you have not called someone in a while to call them without feeling you need to make an excuse. I want you to know that no matter how much time passes that you can call me and you do not need to explain why you haven’t called. I love you all. Andrea

  5. leah says:

    it is really sad to say it but i have seen this happen and it has even been the topic of conversation that i have had way too often. i knew how i felt when people stayed away when Jo Jo was sick and how people i hadn’t seen for years came out of the woodwork to come see him, also phone calls from people i didn’t even know. it’s a strange thing, people who you would think would be there aren’t and people you least expect are.
    i feel a closeness to you that is hard to explain, we have so many things in common, we are the same age we have kids the same age and even kids that left school are in the same school. i can understand although i can’t completely relate to what you are going through, and i said it before, this could happen to anyone, i also feel this strong urge to be supportive like I’m drawn to you, i don’t even know you that well but i feel like i do, i love your kids, you are all so cool, an awesome family that i envy and want to be like.
    i talked to tucker today, i love that child! he said a night of cheese steaks would be ok with you, all you need to do is give me your order, and i will deliver it to you! and i found it funny that you remembered that i don’t cook LOL
    oh also in lowes yesterday i met a random person with an Andrea star i was so happy we had a little connection in line! he didn’t say what his name was but he goes to your church.
    anything, anytime, i’m there for you.

  6. Mary Kate says:

    Friends ARE like stars…………. I’ve been missing my friends soooooo much, I tell them all the time but I don’t think they really believe me because I don’t call them back sometimes and other times I’m just too busy/tired/sad/overworked with the restaurant that I don’t fit them into my life. And I think they feel like they are bothering me because I am so busy with work. Maybe some friends think that you need some space. I think you just reminded all of us that we always need our friends – close ones, far away ones, those that live next door. We all need our friends. Thanks for all of your blogging, we read and want to do things for you but in reallity you inspire us, in this case to remember that we all have friends and we NEED them, no matter where we are in our lives. Thank you.

  7. Heidi Barr says:

    Sometimes being a friend to someone is so very difficult.
    Even then, in the hard times, there is great beauty in friendship.
    We give…we get.
    If we are present, we learn.
    When we can we laugh, when we can’t…we cry.
    Love is not for the faint of heart, but it certainly is worth it.

  8. Ed says:

    I’m so glad you posted this Andrea. Others in postition can know that is not uncommon for others to pull away. Perhaps it is that they can’t bare the possibility of loosing someone like you. It is so hard for some to be in lower energies, it is not part of our yang culture. At least those who read this will know others have the same experience, and it is not just them. Sorry your not feeling better. Love, Ed

  9. Renee Khan says:

    I love what your friend Heidi stated “If we are preent, we learn.” I also noted in your reply that you said it is not a condemnation of any of your friends.

    Why not though? Really, why shouldn’t it kinda be a condemnation? They find it to hard to be around us (I too have IBC) for whatever reason. Really, what is it like for us than, if it is too hard for you to be around us. Those poor people that don’t have cancer, but only have to be around a person with cancer. How horrible their lives must be.

    Boy, do I ever sound bitter. YIKES.

    The only thing I can say is that when you know better, you do better.

    Hope you are doing well, I am only in August so I will keep reading.

    Renee Khan