A SINGLE FRIEND, MY WORLD.

Death can only take you away from me, but it can never take the precious bond and memories we made together. Dear friend, wishing you floods of happiness in heaven.

June 28, 2020, A good way to remember your birthday but unfortunately, you sadly passed away and cannot be with us to celebrate this beautiful day.

It has been 4 months since you took away your own life, so suddenly it happened. It has been 18 weeks since I last heard your voice. It’s hard to believe how fast time has passed since we last spoke. Some days, I sit back and think to myself that all of this is a dream and that I will see you again – I’d give anything for that to happen. 

Every single moment of every single day since that dreaded phone call, I search. I search for signs from you, to let me know you are still alive and that you are okay. I search for anything that remotely reminds me of you.

The saying goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” and after losing you, someone so very close to me, I can’t help but cringe at the statement. It’s painful that it took you dying for me to truly realize how much you meant to me. It took you leaving this Earth and entering a world in which I have no knowledge to realize how great of a friend you were.

I still remember our first meeting which took place in Delhi just a couple of weeks before you met with an accident where you got injured with spinal cord injury. We had no such strong bonding by then as you were just introduced to me by one of our mutual friends. So, at first, our relationship was more like teacher and student as you just wanted me to teach you martial arts. So, that’s how we got to know each other. 

Let me introduce you my dear friend, Amit Sharma; a fitness icon, also a fitness model and a senior trainer in one of the most prestigious gym in the world called ‘Gold’s Gym’. 

His life turned upside down after that accident where he got a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed for the rest of his life. After that only I used to meet him more often, through which we build up that strong bond of friendship, though, it was quite difficult for me to believe that such things could happen to him, a person who is favourite to everyone; full of life, kind, and generous. At the beginning of this year 2020, he gave up on his life but one thing I realized how important it is to talk to your friend more often especially the one who has some physical problems. 

So, here I will be sharing things to talk to your friend who was recently injured with any grievous injury.

There are a lot of difficult things you can experience in life, but one of the most frustrating is watching a friend go through any grievous injury. Watching from the side-lines as someone you care about suffers such a permanent physical loss can be heart-wrenching. You want to help, but you just don’t know what to say.

And you’re not alone. Most people find themselves in this type of “I don’t know what to do” situation when a friend has a spinal cord injury. Very rarely is someone prepared to handle such a challenge, and you may be surprised when to find yourself experiencing your own grieving process for your injured friend. On a rare occasion, you may already know someone personally who is dealing with such things, and no one expects you to handle this like a pro.

But there are things you can do to teach yourself how to handle this situation. Here, I am just advising on how to talk to a friend with any grievous injury. You can still be close friends, things will just be a little different.

Ask Specifically What Your Friend Needs Help With

There are a lot of ways you can help, and sometimes being specific with your help is the best method. For example instead of asking your friend, “Do you want me to bring dinner tonight?” they may answer no. You should instead try asking, “I’m stopping at McDonald’s on my way to see you. What should I pick up for you?” Being specific about the ways you will help can really help your friend.

Avoid Saying ‘Everything Happens for a Reason’ 

For some reason, this statement has become a popular phrase in the Western world. However, many people who have lived through a traumatic event do not necessarily hold the same sentiment. In order to not upset your friend, it’s best to avoid saying this statement. Instead, try to be understanding and say “I am so sorry. I love you.” 

Actively Listen

Most human beings are terrible listeners, and instead are simply waiting for their opportunity to interrupt. Try to actively listen to your injured friend without the inclination to interrupt and add your two cents. Having someone for your friend to just vent to — and simply by listening to what your friend has to say — can be invaluable to the healing process and their overall recovery.

Use Humour

It’s always good to infuse appropriate humour into serious health situations like a spinal cord injury. Truly. When Christopher Reeve was injured, he was notoriously visited by his best friend Robin Williams, who dressed up as a nurse and visited his bedside. Think about what makes your friend laugh and do it. It can be more healing than any card or balloon.

Talk About More Than Just the Injury

When you visit your friend, try to talk about other engaging topics outside of the injury, rehab and therapy talk. There’s a lot happening in the world and it will be good for your friend to get their mind off themselves and onto other topics for even a brief amount of time. Pop news, politics, quantum physics, a new recipe, and most importantly, the holy words God… You get the idea.

Don’t Forget to Check-In

As the months and years go by after your friend’s injury, don’t forget to check in on them. It can be difficult to transition back to a normal life after any grievous injury, and many people struggle during the first couple of years. Many friends allow their friendships to fall to the wayside because their friend has changed so much. Please, do not allow this to happen between you and your friend.

Remember, life is never easy, and such serious injuries simply remind us of that. Be there for your injured friend just as they likely would be there for you, and you will be rewarded with one of life’s greatest friendships.

Remember, few things have such a huge impact on happiness and the enjoyment, depth and plain fun of life as the friendships we have.

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Ⓒ Suraj Sunil Singh Nagarkoti

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