Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To My Chronically Ill Friends


I know you.

I know how sick you are. I know how hard it is. I know the crazy roller coaster ride you're on. I know how getting out of bed is more than you have energy for on many days. I know you push yourself to do even the simplest of things.

I know you're investing everything you have, and even some of what you don't, to get well, feel better, and take your life back. I know you never imagined it would be like this. I know the obstacles seem insurmountable. I know people don't understand.

I know the frustration of not being heard; of being dismissed, overlooked and misunderstood. I know the discouragement of doing everything right and still seeing little to no improvement. I know the ups and downs. I know the heartbreak and disappointment you've felt. I know the struggle. I know the mess.

I believe you.

I believe what you say. I believe the unbelievable things you've been experiencing in your body. I believe how surreal it all is. I believe how very hard you work to get well. I believe how much you try to balance everything. I believe you try to be strong for your loved ones.

I believe you're caring, competent and capable. I believe your ability to persevere through such extreme hardship speaks volumes about who you are. I believe you inspire others. I believe you are making a difference. I believe your story matters. I believe you will overcome this.

I feel you.

I feel your inner struggle. I feel the burden you carry. I feel the aching and longing for change; for something lasting and better. I feel the deep seated determination you have to see this thing through.

I feel the utter disbelief and outrage at the ignorance and insensitivity within certain aspects of the medical community. I feel your growing desire to escape it. I feel your drive to educate them. I feel your compassion and empathy for others who are also sick, in pain, and struggling with their own circumstances.

I understand you.

I understand the depth of what you go through. I understand the undercurrent of emotions. I understand that you've lost so much along the way. I understand not everybody can see it.

I understand how very different life is now. I understand your uncertainty. I understand those moments of despair. I understand the limitations and how frustrating they are. I understand the loneliness. I understand the brokenness. I understand the words that are often left unspoken.

I understand the need for retreat. I understand how you want to get away but can't. I understand the times you need to be alone. I understand your silence. I really do.

I understand the need for total diversion. I understand how getting out is not necessarily about physically feeling better but about doing something just for you. I understand your desire for simple joys.

I see you.

I see your true colors. I see what you go through. I see your resiliency. I see your courage. I see the love you lavish on other people.

I see the hopes and dreams and wishes you still carry in your heart. I see the depth of wisdom and knowledge you've gleaned through the many long years of suffering. I see how you willingly share it.

I see how you take the time to listen to others, even when you aren't feeling well yourself. I see that you're going through more than anybody else really knows. I see that you're hurting.

I see how easy it would be to give up. I see how you've held on. I see how you've stood your ground. I see the deep faith that sustains you. I see, though your body is weary, just how very strong you really are.

I hear you.

I hear your cries. I hear those held back tears you shed when no one else is around. I hear your heartfelt and gut wrenching prayers. I hear your prayers for others; how you ask God to help them hold on too.

I hear your words of support and encouragement. I hear you cheering others on. I hear how you rejoice in another's health victory; how it's really a victory for all of us.

Though buried beneath the exhaustion of illness, I still hear your passion for life. I hear the inner hope with which you speak. I hear your unique expression. I hear the truth of who you are.

And you are beautiful! 

I love you, friends.

You are not alone.

~ Michelle