autism

060 Have these kinds of friends!

Have friends who feel for you

Last week, I wrote about the biggest worry of caregivers – what happens to a child who needs special care after the caregiver passes on? I wrote to encourage others. Instead, I received encouraging messages from others.

Picture from WordPress Photo Library

A friend HP felt the enormity of my worry. He revealed that his tears rolled involuntarily as he was telling his mom about my story. Another friend YS told me that he believed my elder son chose me as his parent for good reasons. And he could tell that I have found more purpose in life because of my son. My friend and mentor AD wrote to me, “Parents always worry about their children. Your advice is good: Take care of self. As for the rest, God will take care.”

It’s heart-warming to have friends who feel for you.

Have friends whom you can trust and talk to

Everyone needs a listening ear in times of need. A study conducted by researchers on 662 caregivers in Singapore found that having someone whom the caregiver trusts to talk to, whether to share sentiments, seek understanding or vent frustration, reduces the degree of depressive symptoms he or she faces. Having friends whom you can trust and talk to is a blessing.

Picture from WordPress Photo Library

But I have heard of contrary viewpoints. I have met people who said dismissively, “Friends? Who needs them!”

It is not uncommon to hear of lifelong friends who fail to step up when needed, while mere acquaintances give more than expected. Disappointment from close friends hurts. That’s why sometimes people choose to distance themselves to avoid getting hurt. However, if you cherish that friendship, surely it deserves a second chance of repairing.

Picture from WordPress Photo Library

For people who have our lives wrapped up around caregiving, I think we should understand more than anyone that there are inconvenient times in everyone’s life. Perhaps, your friends were too caught up with their own problems. And perhaps they did not know how much you needed their help.  Anyway, no one should not be faulted for not living up to other’s expectations.

Maybe friends who fail you do not know that a listening ear from a trusted friend is all that you ask for.

Have friends who are willing to go an extra mile

Friends can make real lasting difference.

Several weeks ago, I heard a sad story from a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) physician who was giving me acupuncture treatment. She said,

“I know it’s not easy raising an autistic child. My close friend’s son is about the age of yours. She confided in me that she might chose to jump to death with her son one day, rather than to leave the child behind. I reprimanded her for harbouring such dark thoughts.”

I was stumped for words before asking her, “How’s your friend doing now?”

“My friend had passed on some years back. She was in her forties, so it was most unexpected. She died of complications from a supposedly minor surgery. That’s life,” the physician sighed.

Picture from WordPress Photo Library

My heart sank. “How about the boy’s father?”

“The father didn’t care much about the son,” the physician continued, shaking her head sadly. “The boy has a younger sister. And the little girl told me that her brother had never been out of the house since their mother passed away. Hence, I take the siblings along on outings with my children from time to time.”

I was moved and looked up approvingly at the physician,

“Your act means a lot to the children. And it means a lot to your friend.”

“I should do that for her.” She said.

It’s blessing to have friends who are willing to go an extra mile.

The physician, the close friend she spoke of and two other girls have been the best of buddies since their pre-University days. (Picture from WordPress Photo Library)

Perhaps you would never know who these wonderful friends are. If you already do, cherish your friendship with them even more.

William W K Tan

12 April 2019

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Categories: autism, Family, Friends

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