Sitting at the cafe, in tears, not knowing what to do next, I called for a taxi and went ‘home’. When I was walking through the gate, my brother was pulling out. He stopped; he saw the big orange and blue envelope in my hand. All I could say was, ‘I’ll tell you later’. He was taking my niece out for the afternoon, which meant that the house was quiet. Too quiet. I needed a distraction, something that was normal. So I messaged two good friends, warned them about my teary state, and asked whether I could come over for a cup of tea. They soon messaged back that they were more than happy for me to come over and, calling a new taxi, I went and crashed their quiet afternoon. With these friends, there was no need to say anything about why I was in tears. We sat and chatted about anything but me; we ate blueberry and white chocolate scones (which I shouldn’t eat), and drank that cup of lady grey tea. They gave me a taste of the normal. Joining their afternoon tea calmed me enough to be able to go home to update my family about what had happened in my post-op appointment with the surgeon that day. My parents skyped first, wanting to know how it went. I told them briefly, but not in any great detail. I just couldn’t. Then over dinner I had the same conversation with my brother and sister-in-law. Trying to be upbeat about it all didn’t really work. What started as a positive day ended as a down day. I’m very thankful for the good friends who let me join their normal, even if for a couple of hours.
Waking up on Sunday, I wasn’t much better. Any determination to keep going was gone. I had lost focus. This was the first day in the whole story where I really doubted whether I could keep going. I got ready for church. A family who I hadn’t met before picked me up from ‘home’. Arriving at church, I found a seat at the back, but the moment the gathering started, the tears returned. I found it hard to keep myself composed, but I knew that I needed to hold myself together. Afterwards, another friend who knows me too well asked how I was going. The look on my face said it all. I didn’t need to say anything audibly. For the rest of that day I didn’t do much. I needed to rest, read a book, sit where other people were. Mentally, I was still processing, still reeling. That evening though made a world of difference. Another friend picked me up from ‘home’ to take me to their house to play Dominion (a strategy game) with the same friends from earlier that day who had asked me how I was going. Before getting to the serious business of playing Dominion, I gave them a quick update from the previous day. And what was lovely is that they made me laugh about it. That night went late, but I don’t regret it. On that Sunday, I was the most downcast I had been since my first day in rehab. I couldn’t shake it. I couldn’t pull myself together. But those friends that Sunday evening helped me to have fun, helped me to smile, helped me to laugh. I felt like I hadn’t laughed for a long time. So for good friends who do life with me, for you, I am very thankful.