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I've lost all my friends, even long term friends of 25 yrs.+ Is this unusual or pretty much the norm? I can't say I saddled my friends excessively with lots of what is going on here, but this IS my life now. I am terribly disappointed, hurt and angry, especially since I was there for some of them when they were taking care of their loved one.
Please share some of your experiences so I can better see this........cadams

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Sure it's normal because they are afraid they may be asked to help out. Most people do not like to be inconvenienced. It is then you will know the difference between your real friends--as opposed to convenience "friends" -- real friends are very rare.  Most people are superficial and they do it for the good times and don't like to hear about problems..welcome to the human race. 
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Dear cadams,

I'm very sorry to hear how you feel. I know it hurts a lot. It sounds like you are very devoted, loving and loyal friend. So many of us use the golden rule but in truth some friends don't return the kindness we have shown.

I put my dad first. I turned down lunch dates. I cut short visits. It does takes a toll. We can't be everywhere at once. As much as we wish people could try and understand and accommodate us, they won't. It will be 10 months since my dad passed and I am still hurt. I had two childhood friends come back and I deeply appreciate their support. But I've also been extremely hurt and disappointed with others. I know its hard to accept.

Do you know what I tell myself now? I still don't regret putting my dad first because the pain of the grief is still unbearable. I still wished I had spent more time with my dad because he was the most loyal person. He deserved my loyalty way more than any friend.

Take care. I hope others will give more insight.
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When you say you have lost friends of 25 years I wonder, did they actually tell you they didn't want to have anything to do with you anymore or have they simply stopped inviting you? Looking at it from their point of view it can be hard to keep a connection with someone who is always absent so that all the little things that happen in our lives balloon into a giant disconnect. As long as there is no animosity there may be a possibility that you can rekindle some your friendships if you try, but you may find that you just have nothing in common anymore.
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cadams, yes very much the norm unless there is a friend who has gone through the same thing... they will stay on to give helpful advice.

How I wished I had my friends back. They left after I said "no" too many times for going out for a day of fun. Even though my parents had passed on not too long ago, there is still silence because my friends left about 7 years ago.

I did gain a friend, a cousin of mine started calling me, she had gone through major caregiving with her Mom. And we both have the same crazy sense of humor so I have re-bonded with her.

The gal who is my desk-mate when I do volunteer work, we spend our shift exchanging notes about elder care. Her elder mother-in-law just moved in. We only talk on our volunteer day because I know for her, her full time-job and dealing with Mom-in-law she doesn't have free time during the day.
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I'm sorry, but yes it does happen
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Yes, this is common.

I can only recommend to you that you open new avenues for your interests. Happiness can only come inside ourselves.

I have always maintained my own plans, dreams. I continued to pursue them. Sometimes it was just doing more reading on the topic at night after everyone was in bed. But, each day I continued to move forward.

Build new friendships....pursue your dreams....look into yourself for your happiness.
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Being a friend is not a one way street. Not to place blame on you, but to look at this from a perspective other than from hurt. Did you tell them you need them in your life...or did you just expect them to know that somehow. We can't hold people to a standard that we didn't express. Also...make times for friendships even when caregiving so that they can empathize with you, share your journey...but don't make every visit about that. Ask about their lives and just have some fun with them. If all we do is moan and groan about how hard this is, people will disappear. Hire a "sitter" and make a date. Socialization has been found to be VERY important to us especially as we age and for a healthy integrated personality. Join a church, get in an adult group class, go out to exercise class, join a book club. And hire people to give you time to do so. Maintaining friendships are on both parties. Ask for what you need from them ...be proactive.
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It is unfortunate but it does happen as your life tends to revolve around their needs and your personal life takes a backseat...it's as thou you no longer have one...if you can manage some time to get away and do something for yourself..you will not get burnout and you will feel as though you still have a life..yes it is difficult and it is never easy and most people say they understand but they sometimes do not....it is very difficult to take care of your loved one...you feel guilty if you take some time for yourself....but you have to...sometimes the ones you were there for may not support you in the same manner and that is unfortunate but you can not change it..just accept it and do the best you can..that is all anyone can do.
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Cadams, thanks for raising this issue. I wonder about it often, and "shush" it away because, well, caring for a parent is an important duty.  Doing it in part to arrive at the point that Cdnreader is at: he or she can rest in the fact she did all she could. 
With the friends I've also found you can only say "no" so many times to invites. No matter how understanding they are, it gets old fast.
My mother enjoys being difficult, (also in my 9th year of ft) even with all the brushes she's had with death especially this past year. It didn't make me a happy person so I assumed some invites stopped because my personality had become negative in social situations. I didn't mind the time to to some self-observations... take stock.
As learned harshly with family, some of those friends as cetude said are afraid they may be asked to help out.
Its hard not to feel ripped off. I also don't recall any other family elders requiring such care, and for years... decades on end.  Did I b*tch about that too much with them? 
Harpcat raises some very good points.  Everyone here did.  Every time I see freqflyer has posted, I know it will be gold.  For this time, this forum and others like these, help to fulfill what caring (& informed!) friends may say.
Thanks again for raising this discussion.
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Thanks for your responses. I really need this to kinda sort things out.... I appreciate cdnreaders response about putting the parent first. I have done this as well and don't regret it at all. Mom is the best part of my day.
My friends, including long term friends, live in other states and we used to correspond regularly mostly by email, phone and even texts. Two of those long term friends absolutely have gone through caregiving and I was there for them throughout their ordeal, so I am shocked that there doesn't seem to be any desire on their part to be there for me, especially since they have been where I am at. There was no argument, anger at all before they just stopped communicating with me. I had worked hard to develop these relationships to be at a much deeper depth as that is something I dearly want and value.
I haven't really reached out to make friendships of any depth at all with those who live near by as I know I can't devote the time and depth I know is needed for much of a decent relationship. So.....it's mostly pretty superficial with those people near by. As I prepare for mom's eventual passing, I am wondering if I really want these "friends" back anyway. With such a lack of commitment, care, concern, I don't see how I could really trust them again with much of anything in my life as they don't appear to be as trustworthy as I thought they were or had hoped. I guess I sure didn't expect this at all so am having to regroup and re-think things. cadams
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