While struggling to care for my desperately ill dog, I’ve come to notice the difference between old friends and new friends. My old friends already know how devastating this inevitable loss is going to be for me. They witnessed firsthand how much my dog and I have been through, and what a comfort he has been to me.
New friends, on the other hand, require a bit more energy than I have at this depressing time. They need the back story that I don’t have the strength to give. They need not only complete sentences, but entire paragraphs. They are every bit as compassionate and caring, but they have to be brought up to speed. They have no idea what a basket case this situation has turned me into, because they’ve never seen me in basket case mode.
There is something reassuring about not having to complete your sentences. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of being understood. It’s so much easier to build a structure when the foundation has already been laid.
I’m not discounting my new friends. I have no doubt that what we will build together will be amazing, too. I just hope they can be patient with me right now.
As I cuddle with my sick dog and feel helpless, that old girl scout song keeps running through my head. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”