Relationship and Expectation Adjustments
Hello Dear Ones,
I am Sunnyflower.
I learned the following from a two day seminar to teach the church how to minister to the handicapped and suffering. The following was said and came true in my life: 1. 80% of people there were only temporarily well. 2. People tend to distance themselves from afflicted/suffering friends and loved ones b/c they feel more will be required in that relationship. 3. Being with their sick and hurting loved ones reminds them of their own mortality. They can feel very awkward and not know what to say and what to do.
At the same time, it's important for our family and friends to know they must adjust their relationship expectations around our limitations and suffering/pain. Unfortunately, often we must step up and let this need be made known and teach them how/what OUR needs are. It's hard not to build resentment having to do this, feeling they should have the insight into our circumstances and adjust themselves accordingly on their own. In a perfect world this would be the best thing but it's not a perfect world.
I've shared that my 4 kids know I'm ill. They show up every time I'm in the hospital. They know I'm at 1,2,3 and 4 doctor appointments per week including but not limited to diagnostic procedures. They know I'm mostly in bed. They can see I'm in pain when we’re together even though I try to hide it. My husband doesn’t like it that I try to hide it.
I have 18 grandkids who are anti-depressants. My kids know the joy I receive from them. And yet, they RARELY bring them to see me. This pain is indescribable.
My kids have good hearts. I raised them to serve others. And they do. But why are they available to everyone in need but me? Again, this pain is indescribable! They say and write at lengths how much they love me and what a great Grammy and Mom I am. They call and hug me when they see me (except for now b/c of Covid-19).
They know that over the years we've spent a fortune on hiring help. I believe it was last fall but could have been 2018 (my memory is really bad but it was the fall), that my younger daughter told me that she and her older sister were going to come and help me, rotating weeks w/ one another. I was so blessed and told her so!
A month or so later I hadn’t heard anything so I asked her and she alluded to the fact that her older sister had made a comment about not enabling me. I was stunned and beyond hurt so I asked the my younger daughter to come over. I showed her the list of my health conditions that I printed from my Kaiser Permanente Chart. I know that seeing something in writing reaches a different part of the brain and that she would see I wasn’t embellishing my circumstances and, how afflicted I am. Many, many if not most of my many specialists over the years have told me I either have the longest list or one of the longest lists of diseases/conditions they’ve ever seen. There is so much on this list; almost every organ and several glands are diseased. Many of these diseases and conditions are painful in nature.
I told my daughter that I felt she and her sister put me in the position to have to defend my circumstances by their not following through on their offer to help me out and especially b/c of the comment about not enabling me.
Are you sitting down? She said nothing. Not “Oh”, “Wow”, “Sorry”, nothing. That hurt even more. Some time later I addressed her lack of response/empathy/compassion and again, she said nothing.
At least a month or more after that I asked her sister to come over and the exact scenario above was repeated including the same words. This daughter did say something like a quiet “Wow” or on of those words.
To this day they have not come to help me other than my youngest daughter came once for a little while to sort one cupboard of art/crafts for my grandkids. She offered another time by saying she was going to be in my area and had about 20 minutes to come help me if I needed it but it was around dinner time and the kids were with her so I knew nothing would get done.
Let me be very clear. When/if I tell them about myself when they call and ask how I am, I do not complain and often state this is information only, not a complaint. I say this to quite a few people nowadays and then abruptly change the subject to direct the conversation from about me to about them and ask how they and their families are. I am bound and determined not to be negative and not to be a burden.
I saw a therapist for a short time years ago when my poor health demanded that I take an early retirement. She said they may be in denial b/c they don’t want me to be sick. When they see me it reminds them.
I am a very positive and extremely warm, loving person. I am deliberate about being joyful in my circumstances. This is born from the extra amount of faith God has allotted me. I am deeply humbled by the deep, sacrificial, boundless, unmerited love Jesus Christ has bestowed on me. His peace that surpasses all human understanding (Philippians 4:7) is the only thing that gets me through the many fires we all walk through here in this temporary life on earth.
There are many times my pain reaches the human endurance threshold and I am literally fighting for my sanity but I never, ever feel a victim or question God. I know Him intimately enough to trust Him in my circumstances. He has a purpose in suffering. His comfort and ever-presence are indescribable. My heart is so filled w/ gratitude to have this: “faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
I pray a lot for all of you here on the Mayo blogs. I am a part of several groups. I wish you all many blessings and a lot of relief! Warmest wishes, Sunnyflower PS: Sorry for the novel! PSS: Sorry for the repeats!! PSSS: Sorry for leaving so many out here. I named some people just so others can know there is a new discussion. This is based on someone new's story. Thank you!!!!!! @johnbishop @colleenyoung @lorirenee1 @rwinney @jesfactsmon @specialty555 @jessamyn @artscaping @erikas @jenniferhunter @kathleen1314 @jimhd