Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not a damn thing I can do.

I am so incredibly frustrated and angry and sad. And I had a good day today too. I'd taken the day off for one of my regular Christmas shopping days, and I'd had a good time shopping, and then I met the husband at the Disneyland Resort, and we had fun looking at the Blue Sky Cellar at DCA to see what changes are being planned over the next several years, and then we had a great dinner at a fabulous restaurant.

And then I got home, and I read a letter that a friend had sent me because the email was being screwy.

I've previously mentioned that I have a female friend who's fighting a potentially life-threatening disease. And that I was concerned about her family support system. And while I'm happy that her treatments are going well, her letter indicates what I'd hoped wouldn't happen - she's still taking on entirely too much with being the pillar of her family. They've been relying on her for so long for so much that they can't stop, and I don't think she can either. That's not to say I think she should just sit around and do nothing while she gets her treatments. There are side effects that she has to deal with, and she's still working a modified schedule at her job, and now there are other physical ailments that she's also having to contend with, so she's definitely got a lot on her plate. But her letter indicates that she's pushing herself doing things she otherwise wouldn't be doing except that her family seems to expect it from her, or she expects it from herself. She's not complaining - it's all very matter-of-fact - she's been doing this for years, so it's all very normal for her. But I guess I don't understand why her family is continuing to make her be responsible for so much when she's already got so much to deal with of her own. And there's nothing I can say to her to change it, because I know she won't refuse them, and yes, I understand that she's an adult, and it's her choice, but I just wish there was something I could do to help her and ease her load.


Sherry said...

I'm sorry that she's having so much on her plate. Obviously her family has relied on her so long that they just can't seem to do things on their own. But maybe they think it will help her get her mind off of her illness, I don't know. All you can do is be there for her and be strong. She needs you for that the most.

Arielle said...

What Sherry said.

I was the person in my family responsible for taking care of everyone, since age three! So I know what it's like (and I had serious undiagnosed conditions, so felt sick and tired all the time, but still had been heavily conditioned to take care of everyone).

I do not envy your friend. And I would be sad and angry and frustrated in your place.

But like Sherry said, there is not much you can do but be there for her. She is way too ill to deal with family conflict right now.

Really, someone should advocate for her to the family. If it were possible, the doctor should talk to them and tell them she needs rest. Is there a family member who could ask the doctor to talk to the rest of the family and tell them what she needs from them, for a change?

But even so, that may not work. It wouldn't have worked in my family. It really depends on the family and what their motivations are. Sad to say, some people just use people, even in families. Other times, taking responsibility in a family is a two way street. Duty may be helping your friend stay connected with her loved ones through this tough time. It is too hard to say without knowing more about her and her family.

Wish there was more I could say or do. :-(