Thursday, May 10, 2012

Weirdness is Getting Weirder...

Life has been very weird lately. The confluence of events is very odd and I'm beginning to wonder more and more.

Not about my own sanity. But about the fact that I may very well be the only sane person left in the room!

I have two friends who are suffering with melanoma. Two. One male, one female. The female is now in Hospice care, and we know how this is going to end. The male is "not doing well" - which is kind of what I expected because he found out very late in the game, after it had spread.

So the male, I'm in contact with via "How are you" and "I'm praying for you" notes because we work together. We're friends but in a professional capacity. He was my professor and now that I work at the university, he has classes in my facility, so we're "work friends" and he's one of my favorite instructors.

The female I'm closer to on the basis of "being a friend." We hold totally opposite political beliefs, she's a smoker and a "we love to camp in the summer" person, who is a total sun-bunny. I'm a vehement anti-smoker, a liberal-Birkenstock-wearing-tree-hugger, hates-to-camp kind of person. I'm pale. I go from pale to "burned" in about 20 minutes WITH sunscreen!

But we bonded in a true friendship where we honor our differences. And I cherish that. We are the same age. I'm sad that I'm losing a friend at my own age.

That being said, she owned the yarn shop where I used to hang out. I actually still hang out there, because the new owner is a nice woman keeping up the yarn community that my friend started. And she's running a small business...I'd rather buy my yarn and other knitting stuff there - giving a local business run by a woman my dollars, instead of a big-box (which also has crappy yarns, but I digress).

There are a group of knitters, who lately I've begun referring to as "The Knot-Heads" because at least one of them (maybe two) is displaying an enormous amount of immaturity. Yes, we all mourn differently. We all have that right, based upon what we've grown up with, our personalities and how we handle life's curveballs.

But this gal ("Audrey") is taking the "it's all about MEEEEEEEEEEE" thing so far that I'm ready to just scream. There's another person in the group who is very verbal and outgoing to the point of also kind of being a "me, me, me" person, but deep down, "Jessica" has a heart of gold and will do whatever she thinks will help you. My friend is in Hospice, for God's sake. She doesn't need a "friend" who is determined to out-mourn the rest of us. Nice phrase, huh? Well, it describes a person who is determined to be the one who cries the most, gets hysterical the most, inserts herself in the family's way the most....all the while actually doing nothing for anyone except creating chaos.

Which is the last thing this family needs. Do I always agree with what my friend's husband has done and the decisions they've made? Nope.

Is it my duty or right to say so? Nope. Nope. N-O-P-E. Absolutely frickin' not. I don't care if they brought in a witch doctor to do a rain dance and hang seaweed and entrails around her bed. Well, I care, but the point is, it's not my decision and not my place to tell them what to do.

So, "Audrey," one of the "Knot-Heads" has decided that she's in charge. And my friend's mom is so focused on what's in front of her -- her daughter dying -- that she can't see what's going on with this person. She's also a perennial "everyone is a nice person" kind of gal, till you cross her. My object is to make sure she doesn't have to be crossed, because let's face it -- your kid dying trumps just about anything else that happens to anyone else. In other words, "Audrey" has no right to impose herself in this situation with anyone. "Audrey" needs to grow up and get over herself. Fast.

"Audrey" got mad at me because I went over to visit. She won't, however, confront me. She'll leave others to do this - which I found out by phone calls (lots of them) from "Jessica." Which really doesn't bother me. Squeal away, kiddo. Knock your socks off. One thing I've learned is to "act like a duck" and let it roll off your back. If it won't materially hurt me, why do I waste my energy on this?

I was talking to my mom, though, because she's friends with the mom in this situation.... like a 30+ year friendship. My mom, even though she drives me insane sometimes, is a great anchor. She totally will handle your situation; talk you through it; hand you tissues.... and then after it's all over, will fall apart. I'm pretty much a carbon copy of that. I'll handle what you toss at me; I'll do everything except hold your head while you barf (because I'm a community barfer); give you advice if you want it, or just hold your hand if you need that; and then when it's over, I'm done and I fall apart.

So, I've been asked by "Jessica" to come with her when she visits our friend this coming Monday. "Audrey" is peeved (to put it mildly) and "may just run out there Friday." I felt compelled to talk to my mom because I'm at a loss; not that I don't know how to handle it, because I know how *I* want to handle it. But I wanted some advice from my mom on whether to do anything or how to do it without overstepping into the bounds of the family.

My mom is going to talk to her friend and just give her a head's up because she also believes that "Audrey" is a person who has no boundaries and that the family is the ultimate arbiter of how they handle this journey. Nobody else.

I've told my mom, "Please make your friend understand: I don't care if they all call me and vent on me. It's better to do it to me than to your friend!! She doesn't need this." But what I don't want is to have her friend think that I'm an instigator of the school-girl crap. I believe she knows me well enough, so I don't think that'll be an issue. I also think my mom's in a better position to let her friend know that there may be drama. I think "forewarned is forearmed" in this case.

I hate this crap. I'm devastated that I know two people who're suffering with this awful cancer. I've actually made a dermatologist appointment for myself - which may be a good thing, if I'm more aware...but it's scary. And I really don't want to have to be the only sane person in the room.

But I think that if you are that person, you just are. You just have to deal with it, I guess, and you have to realize that maybe this is your gift to the family. Your presence is calming, hopefully, and you are doing something useful. I've never been a "weeper and moaner" and I can't see myself doing that now.

I'll hold it together. I'll help do what I need to do. But I'll still want to smack "Audrey" (and really, "Jessica" too because please........ everyone grow up!). I'm telling' ya. If you're gonna be the only sane person in the room, you have to cultivate a great poker face. I'm still working on that!

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