I found a site today http://bookblogs.ning.com/ and it reminded me again why the internet is so important to me.
The pain started six months after I moved to NYC, too soon to have made any strong friendships, ones that could weather the storm that was my life with trigeminal neuralgia.
The first surgery I had worked for three months. Six weeks after the operation I was working at House Beautiful magazine. Almost immediately I made 2 good friends, Jan and Blanche. We spent many weekends together and often went as a trio to lunch or dinner.
Once the pain returned it was impossible to continue with the relationships. Everytime they invited me to go somewhere I had to say 'No." New friendships can only take so many rejections before they end. No one said anything. It just petered out. Did I not return their calls? Did they not return mine? I do not know. I just know they had lives to live. I had only pain.
My family was not there for me. My half siblings were there for none of the 12 surgeries I ultimately had, starting in 1977. My parents, one or both, came for the first 3 but then stopped. I was truly on my own.
Work and family are where you make friends. I had neither and was in no position to either make a family of my own or meet people to make new friendships.
I did have 2 friends in NYC, both from my apartment building. One I rarely saw and yet I think we both considered each other a 'best friend'. The other was a woman, also disabled, who was not able to get out and around. She told her father "The only reason we are friends is because of our disabilities. Otherwise there is no way we would be friends." She was telling the truth. Necessity makes strange bedfellows, or friendship in our case. Sadly both of them died. I was alone again.
A few years later I moved back to Pennsylvania, only a few minutes away from one sibling and 30 minutes from the other. My brother would leave Florida and move back a few years later.. He also now lived about 30 minutes away from me.
The 2 sisters were friendly at first. Then they decided they did not like me, no idea why and they never discussed any issues with me so we could work things out. Alone once more.
I did make a friend in my townhome community. It was again a friendship based on need rather than shared interests and like. Jane (pseudonym) was a lovely lady who took me everywhere with her. I was unable to drive; I was very dependent on her, but year by year our differences grew stronger and need became the only tether. Ultimately the friendship ended. A newer friendship, with someone I met at a yardsale, was more based on similarities and shared interests. Then she moved to New York.
We talk on the phone almost everyday; but it is not the same as someone there in front of you whom you can see and spend time with.
I sing in the church choir, and know people in the church, but there is no one I can truly call 'friend'. Some have been very kind and friendly, but they all have their own lives. Many work, they have children and grandchildren, their time is filled. There is not much room for someone new. I go to choir rehearsal and service, and fellowship afterward but, ultimately, I have to go home, and it is once again to home alone.
The computer is often a harbinger of pain for me, because of the intense amount of eye work, reading or writing, but I would be bereft without it.
It is here I "talk' to my nephew, the one person in the family brave enough to have sought me out years ago when no one else would. We write almost everyday. On facebook I "talk" to some people from high school, discuss politics or chronic pain or medical issues or even nothing at all, meet new people through websites and now blogs, have lovely, kind people at my website.
If it was not for the internet I would be even so much more alone. Yes, the people, for the most part, are only names (and maybe a picture) but it is people with whom I can feel a connection, sometimes even a kinship. For that I am almost unutterably greatful.