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Wedding Woes

My BFF abandoned me when I was sick and now I'm holding a healthy grudge

Dear Prudence,
My cousin and I had been best friends since we were little girls. As we grew our bond became closer. She was my college roommate, and later my maid of honor. We lived close to each other and hung out constantly. Five years ago, when I was 28, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma and spent two years undergoing chemo, radiation, and a stem cell transplant that put me in the hospital for months. During this low point in my life, she disappeared. No calls. No emails. No texts. No visits. No flowers. Nothing. I know her so well that I understood she just didn’t know how to deal with this, but her absence was the hardest part of my cancer experience. I am now cancer-free, and she has had a child and gotten married. My mother pressured me to attend my cousin’s baby shower, but I gave an impersonal gift card and left as soon as I could. I was invited to the wedding, but didn’t attend. I just can’t pretend nothing happened. As the years pass, however, my family sees me as the one causing the rift because of my refusal to make nice with her. I have to endure long updates from my mother about her life, I listen as my sister tells me that my cousin really wants to know how I am. I don’t want to hear anything about her life unless it is from her. I miss her terribly, but unless I hear a heartfelt apology from her, I don’t see how a relationship can be possible. Am I right or wrong?

—Cured but Hurting

Re: My BFF abandoned me when I was sick and now I'm holding a healthy grudge

  • You know, it's incredibly hard to know how one will really react to a cancer diagnosis until they are staring it in the face.

    For the patient, and their loves ones

    IDK, this is certainly not be the BFF's finest hour by any stretch...but she's flawed like everyone else. I'd hate to waste so much energy grinding this axe

    Maybe being a little more welcoming than the business end of a meat processing plant would get the writer the apology and atonement she really wants.
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  • Well forgiveness has to go both ways for a relationship to actually happen.  So, I don't think she's wrong for not extending it if that's really how she feels, but she keeps saying she misses her terribly and wants a relationship.  If she's giving the cousin the cold shoulder, how is cousin supposed to get there w/her?

  • ReturnOfKuusReturnOfKuus
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited April 2014
    I see nothing here about the actual cousin reaching out.  It's all sister says this about cousin, mom says that about cousin.  Has the cousin ever even bothered?
  • I see nothing here about the actual cousin reaching out.
    Ditto. If cousin's so broken up that the family are all taking her side, where's the apology? Where's even a casual email or text? Surely people can't think she's in the right to ignore cancer, and then just keep ignoring her friend when friend is hurt. I mean, obviously they *can*, but they're wrong. 
  • I see nothing here about the actual cousin reaching out.

    Assuming the sister wasn't lying just to cover up an awkward moment, it's that the cousin really wants to know how the writer is.

    It's the coward way of testing the waters, but she's seeking reconnection.

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  • I see nothing here about the actual cousin reaching out.
    Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing.  Cousin tells sister she wants to know things?  Why can't she pick up the phone?

    It sounds like neither of them are willing to make the first move, and that's a shame.  

  • Cousin disappears.  Then, at some point, something changed, b/c woman was invited to shower, invited to wedding, woman being told cousin really wants to know how she is.  If she's taking the opportunities that cousin seems to be creating or trying to create and stone walling them, how can anything happen?  If cousin showed up here telling her story, we'd be all over "this needs to be a personal conversation, get off phone, get off text, stop trying to go through family members and go talk to her face-to-face".

    Also, this woman says she misses her terribly.  So, what's wrong with her testing the waters?  Worst case scenario: validation that cousin in a \#/ and deserves to be cut out of life entirely and she can tell family to STFU.  

    Or, she just needs to work on stop caring about cousin and tell her family to STFU, she's not doing it.  But keeping herself stuck in limbo b/c she wants a third party to magically do the thing in her head that she's envisioning is pure stupidity.
  • What changed is that gift-giving occasions rolled around.  Call me a cynic, but I have "family" like this who pay empty lip service to wanting to be closer and make sure you are invited to occasions where you'd be obligated to give them a gift.
  • Even if you give Cousin the benefit of the doubt, that she's feeling terrible/awkward about the abandoning (instead of being gift-grabby), it's still a tad unfair to ask Cured to attempt ANOTHER worst-case scenario when it comes to Cousin.

    I mean, yes, that might be what it takes and it's being the bigger person, but I understand Cured's hesitation.

  • I don't have much pity for the whole, "This is what I want to magically happen: for a third person to suddenly behave how I want them to".  B/c it's not going to happen.  All she can change is her response.  I don't think she's wrong, hell I even think she's right, but it changes nothing about the situation.  

    She isn't recognizing her actual problem which is she does want this relationship, but on her terms, which include cousin magically doing something that, for whatever motive b/c it doesn't really matter, cousin isn't doing.

    So, she can either decide to get the relationship back with different terms, keep wallowing in her not-gonna-happen dream, or cut it off totally.  I don't get enjoying the wallowing, so crap or get off the pot.
  • I wonder if she'd be wallowing if her family weren't giving her shit about not throwing herself at her cousin.
  • She can stop that part too.  She doesn't have to "endure" her mother's speeches.
  • Very true!  It's amazing to me how many people don't tell third parties to MTOB. 

    Of course, if her mom is anything like mine, she will never get it, and every single get-together and conversation will end with the OP saying 'HOW many TIMES do I have to tell you that this is none of your business and not up for discussion?!"
  • VarunaTT said:
    She can stop that part too.  She doesn't have to "endure" her mother's speeches.

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