Are we still friends?

Hi all, I've read a number of posts by people who have a brain injury about the sadness of losing friends following their injury. I am the friend of B who has an ABI and I wanted to post about how it feels from my perspective.

When B had her accident there was a flurry of activity amongst her friends with lots of people offering help. Over the last 4 months the flurry has slowed right down. There is a small group of us visiting regularly.

B remembers very little of anything over the last 15 years. I've known B for 7 years and she can recall nothing of any time we have spent together. I find at the moment that things around me remind me of time spent with B every bloody day, songs on the radio, passing places we used to hang out, and just about every time I get on the bike (B was / is? a cyclist too). I can tell you it hurts every time.

I don't know if longer term I can be friends with B, I don't know what we will have in common. I don't even know if B will like me anymore. I'm not even certain if we know what we can do together if her ABI takes our major bonding activity of bikes and alcohol out of the equation (I know this is a bad mix, please don't tell me off!) I don't know where B will live and B looks so different too and that unsettles me. I find I want to 'help' her look as she used to, but realise this is much more about my needs than hers. And dear God she has now started to smoke and I hate that!

B filled a special place in my life, B still retains, on her good days, a great sense of humour. B appreciates the time I spend with her. B was a loyal supportive person to people having a tough time. It could so easily have been me with an ABI instead and I think B would have been there for me. B gives me a lovely hug every time I say goodbye. B loves it when I hold her hand and we walk around, and she always did.

I'm not even certain how to end this. Perhaps it's self indulgent, maybe it's illuminating...I'll be seeing her next week.

9 Replies

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  • The only friends that have stuck by me in my six years since my TBI are indeed those I shared bikes and copious amounts of alcohol with......But I know this much ..i only want to spend time with the people who want to spend time with me and not those that feel they have to , or those who need to ease their guilt.

  • Well said x

  • first thing you have to do is remind yourself that its ok to be selfish every now and then, those of us with brain injury's can be selfish a lot (not purposefully) its just what it does to us.

    you cannot always give 100% and get nothing back, being selfless is not an easy path for anyone, and i don't think i could do it.

    and you have to reclassify your interests its not what she cant do, its what she can, and concentrate on that,

    and these days there is help for all sorts of activities

    as regards looks, what about them is unsettling you

    i don't remember my wedding which was months prior to accident, nor do i remember songs or emotional memories (memories with emotions attached, but i know facts)

    you have to become her friend again, be who you were before, do not try and change yourself.

    if things are going to be then they will, but i think being there for her in an uncomplicated way is the answer, which also means you are the one who can be honest with her, whilst others might tip toe around subjectsdont be afraid of saying the wrong thing, and you will be suprised how a bit of dark humour breakes down walls (obviously this is dependent upon the person so you have to judge that one yourself) but humour especially about bad things can be a good bonding experience.

    you are the only one who can decide if its appropriate, it was for me and still is.

    how did she start smoking, did someone encourage it, or what made her decide?

  • Hey Bikerlifestyle...Hows you..?

    Dark humour indeed.....I was dark before the TBI....Now My sense of humour spends most of its time partying with the devil....and I find that most of my Fraggle friends (fraggles being the nick name that I have so fondly given all my new found TBI friends)...have also gone over to the dark side...and over and over and over......lol.

  • i am ok, i don't mind people having a laugh at my expense, because i give it right back at them, and especially in the biker world, people know that one day it could easily be them in this position.

    and i find they are more accepting in the way they deal with it, in sort of an honest manner

  • I found in the days and weeks following my brain injury the help and support I received from my close friends was astounding. Most flew to Germany to be at my bedside for days on end and continued to be there for me upon my return to England.

    However, as the days and weeks morphed into months and years I soon found that most of my 'friends' (and some of my family) became nothing motre than acquaintances. This obviously deeply upset me and I spent many sleepless nights wondering why me? What have I done? etc etc.

    But hindsight is a wonderful thing. Now I see that the sands of time simply passed through a sieve and it was a sieve that only left the true friends behind. No amount of shaking that sieve will ever shift those sands as the last fickle sands slide away.

    Now eighteen years later, only two of the 'friends' I knew from that time remain. Would I change it? No, not for a second. I have no negative feelings heading in the direction of those people any more, none at all. After all, how would I have reacted if the shoe had been clinging to my sweaty foot? I can certainly answer that now, but back then? I'd be lying if I said I could.

    In short, life moves on. much like in any other walk of life, friends come and go. I still have tthose cherished friends and now a whole new set of new friends that I didn't even know existed pre accident.

    Don't feel guilty, don't be sad, it's called life

  • Thank you so much for your comments on this post, it's really helped me to hear from people who have been 'on the other side'. Keep it simple and give it time seems to be the message and it's a welcome one. Thank you.

  • Two cakes be kind to yourself...this is not self- indulgent...it is real. Your feelings are important too. Take care

  • It sounds as though not many of your needs are being met, so perhaps time to change the relationship, giving yourself time to adjust and move on slowly

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