I over heard a conversation this morning between two women. It left me a bit gobsmacked and annoyed. It seems these two women have a mutual friend who had a kidney transplant via a relative. One woman said it was such a tragedy that their friend had to have a transplant. They went on to talk about how everyone needed to make allowances for her erratic behavior, and that she should be treated carefully as she recovered. After all, with someone else’s kidney in her she would never be normal.
I thought, “Tragedy?’ Not to me, it isn’t. That woman will live a long healthy life, she is not an invalid, she is not helpless, she is the product of the miracle of medicine and blessings. How can that be a tragedy? They acted as if having any transplant was something no one would ever want. What?
Tragedy is something that cannot be controlled, stopped, or overcome resulting in either an end of a life or constituting a complete change in circumstances for a survivor. Tragedy is losing a new mom to childbirth. Tragedy is a child with incurable cancer. Tragedy is a wounded warrior who has lost limbs, sight, ability to walk, or suffers brain damage or mental illness from serving in the war. Tragedy is a teenager committing suicide. Tragedy is a plane crash that kills 300 people. Tragedy is an old person freezing to death. Tragedy is the mentally ill on the streets of the country when they belong in a safe institution where they can be cared for, instead of suffering the effects of cold and heat, and the lack of food. Tragedy is losing someone to addiction to drugs or alcohol. Tragedy is having a funeral for a twenty year old girl whose death was sudden and unexpected. Surviving a kidney transplant is not a tragedy! It is, instead, an opportunity to celebrate a new and continued life!
What those well meaning women are doing is placing their friend in a box labeled perpetual victim. In pandering to her, giving her excuses for bad behavior, and creating a tragic attitude around her, they are making her weak, mentally, physically, and emotionally. In refusing to celebrate the miracle that her life is, they want to demean it. That isn’t friendship, that is an attitude of superiority. “Poor little thing, she will never reach her full potential,” one of them stated. The other agreeing and doing the Southern thing when faced with perceived tragedy, shaking her head, and murmuring, “Bless her heart.”
I don’t get it. I really don’t understand their attitude, especially treating her as if she is fragile and unable to cope with surviving. She isn’t one bit more special than anyone who has survived a horrific illness. Instead of encouraging her to be helpless, they need to stand behind and beside her as she moves forward into a strong, healthy life. Instead of lowering their expectations for her life, they should be the best of cheerleaders, celebrating each and every milestone in her recovery. And, the last thing they need to be doing is enabling helplessness. I repeat, she is not an invalid. The only tragedy in her life is that her friends see her as a victim who will never be normal instead of a survivor.