I think there is something both awkward and obvious about wanting to befriend people who were important to you in times of crisis. In any case, both K and I think it’s kind of a shame to compartmentalize the people we meet; a “nurses belong only in hospitals” mentality seemed sad and forced.
We really didn’t want to lose touch with our favorite nurses and our chaplain after we left the NICU. We wanted to stay friends, to see them beyond our monthly support group. Because of the neighborhood we live in, they were closer to our age and demographic than any of the mothers we met in the NICU. In any other circumstance, we were sure that S and P and we would be friends. We thought it’d be a shame not to at least try to keep cultivating those relationships, especially as don’t know that many people here yet.
But that’s an odd conversation to start. We didn’t want to put S and P in an uncomfortable professional situation – maybe they think it’s creepy to have former patients’ parents texting them at home (in our defense, they gave us their personal emails and cell numbers). On the other hand, we kept thinking that maybe we met for a reason, that maybe Anderson might have wanted us to be friends, that maybe THEY were some of the good things to come out of this altogether tragic situation.
So we’re trying, albeit awkwardly, to remain friends. We bought S a gift of fun socks since she always wears crazy socks; really, it gives us an excuse to see her when we drop them off. We invited P to Beauty Bar, a rather fun place here in Chicago where there is a manicurist at the bar ($15 martini-and-manicure from 7-10 p.m. weekday nights). And she came! We were giddy, like little kids making new friends all over again. We’re still happy to see her every time we do, including at our hospital’s memorial service yesterday. But there’s still a weird line there. Hopefully we’ll get beyond it someday, because really, I think there’s something special there.