A friend of mine today found himself in an unfortunate situation. I won't go into the details here because it's not my story to tell. He's now stuck in a place that is, physically and figuratively, separate from the world of people who support and care about him. If I were in his shoes I would be terrified and, I imagine, very lonely. I haven't really known him all that long (not even a full year), but my heart goes out to him and I want desperately to help him; I just don't know how.
My little brother is also facing a tough bit of life. His crazy antics have caught up with him and he may have to have surgery on his shoulder or his ankle or both. His injuries are keeping him from doing things he really loves to do, like snowboarding and rock climbing, and the surgery, if it happens, will put many of his future plans on hold. He's having a hard time dealing with it all, and who can really blame him? Our dad asked me to talk to him because I have some experience with extenuating circumstances stepping in to fuck up my future.
My brother asked: "How did you deal with it?"
I told him: "Poorly"
Looking back on the time I took adjusting to life with Wegener's I don't really see much really bright in how I behaved. I lashed out at my family, I flew headlong into living only in the moment, I did my best to ignore my derailed future. It all lead to a major crisis point. Even now I feel like I'm just barely piecing my life back together little by little, with cheap glue so some bits keep falling off even as I stick new ones on.
In retrospect it's easy to see the things I didn't handle particularly well. If I could do it all again with the knowledge that comes with hindsight would I do things differently? I'm not sure I would be able to. So what advice can I give to people facing hard knocks? Don't do what I did. And I can offer a series of cliches that feel empty and trite in my mouth: take it one day at a time; you will be stronger from living through this; this too shall pass.
What can I offer to help my friend? Wise, helpful and heartfelt advise is out. I don't think it would do any good anyway. At times of major crisis people seem to want to do nothing but bombard you with advise, none of which you really want to hear and most of which sounds like the same stupid thing over and over. The best I can offer is to simply let him know that I am thinking of him. If I prayed, I guess I would pray for him. I have always been touched when people have told me that they prayed for me.