Who is a friend?
Whenever this question is asked, we are often moved to give out a whole long list of friends including those we check on annually.
This year wasn’t the first time someone asked randomly about who my friend is. But at that moment on that faithful night, when a neighbour asked me who my friend is at my family’s permanent resident, it felt strange and different.
Within that few seconds of thinking who my friend is when I visit home, got me tensed up. It felt like my heart stopped beating at that moment while I was gripped with uncertainty. Not that I don’t have friends or there isn’t anyone I can turn to when I visit home. But it felt as though I was being asked “where can you run to aside your home in striving moments?”
That question got me thinking deeply of my almost 14 years of residing in that town, fellowshipping with the local church, knowing almost everyone in the neighbourhood, and relating well with them. I thought of them all but there was none i could term as a friend. I proceeded with the search through my family-friends list yet none of them felt suit to fit in as my friend.
For the first time in as long as i can remember, i felt like i needed someone. Someone who was not going to love me or be nice to me because they are receiving the same from me, nor someone who was only available to laugh at my jokes or hang out with. Someone who wasn’t family-related.
But someone to whom love is a want and not just a need or expectation. Someone who knows me truly and not one who’s just meant for publicity. Someone who hugs and smiles at me with a pure heart, one I wouldn’t need to be somebody else so as to stay by her side.
One i get to call my friend.
In my stilled calmed self, i remembered the one household i visit unconsciously, anytime i’m home. In that household, in a small room on a bed, lies my friend.
A friend i made about 7 years ago, under an unfavourable circumstance after the accident which left her in a wheelchair.
The first time i saw her, she was in a paraplegic state on a hospital bed. I had gone to check up on her upon my mum’s request. She was lying quietly at the Clinical Decision Unit of the Accident and Emergency block in the hospital. She looked not happy nor sad, so indifferent like one who wasn’t sure of what to feel at that moment of her life but sounded grateful knowing there was someone she could call out to just in case she needed to. She seemed then to be just breathing but not making any effort to live on. She was discharged home after weeks of being hospitalized and had the same facial expression.
Her dreams shattered, her life had come to a hold, had to defer her course at school, movements limited to the exact spot she was positioned on the bed. It was as though her whole world and life had met its end. A fully able person, in a minute, turned totally dependent on others. She could eat only when food was served to her, drink water as when and how much of it is served, personal hygiene was attended to as to when someone is available to assist with that. You all know how sometimes a part of your body feels so itchy and you are only relieved of it after a scratch, imagine when your hand can’t reach the exact spot, how does that feel? Well, that was her life.
Every minute within the first month was a reflection of how suddenly her life had changed, feeling so useless, feeling like a burden, not being able to even care for herself. Always having to ask someone for help even with little things, things even a toddler can help herself with. Getting to see the pitiful look on the faces was everyone who walked into her room. I never heard her utter this statement but i knew she was saying that within;“why me? why did this have to happen to only me?”
I would often lie on the couch in her room while she was on the bed and wouldn’t say a word, not even one to comfort her. The truth is, i didn’t even know what to say to her. I was afraid a word about her state will move her to tear up. So we would just sit in silence, everyday, all day long, watching movies till she asks for something like water. We would talk about anything else but hardly about her life then.
There were tougher times with persistent fever, urine retention, constipation, and then diarrhoea, bedsores, infections, a whole lot of complications. There were times it felt like things were only getting worse, almost nothing recommended was working out and it was so scary. But she was so determined to live on, never giving chances to give-ups.
Your will to live can sustain you when you are sick, but if you lose it, your last hope dies. – Proverbs 18:14
We started gradually with small exercises like picking stuffs from afar till we got to sit up. That was a great achievement then😎, soon she could sit up and attend to some stuffs herself without help. Then we move to getting out of the room in a wheelchair to view the sun, and then trying some baby steps. Something would pop up once in a while but it was manageable.
You may never know how precious little stuffs such as having the sun set on your body or watching the moon and stars at night may be, till it’s something so out of your reach.
What she didn’t know was that my being in her life then wasn’t only be of help to her but me looking up to her for my almost lost hope and also living on. She was my answer when i asked God “why me?”, it was as though God was asking me “why her? too”. A reason not to wallow in sorrow since she kept my mind busy.
In all, she received great help and support from family, friends, church, and loved ones. Went back to school after a year, graduated, currently working, and enjoying life. Oh i forgot, also got married during the weekend; “Happily Married”.
Its always been an honour getting to know you, Mrs. Mary Acquah, and being someone I get to call A Friend.There’s so much ahead, let’s keep taking baby-steps and we will certainly get there.
You may not know, but you are God’s greatest gift and a Testimony to the world.
Have you also wondered about that question too?
Who is your friend?
Who can you truly call a friend?
How soothing and comforting that word sounds.
What would you prefer?
10,000 Instagram friends, or five real ones?