venerdì 20 maggio 2011

Love is Louder, So I'm Told: Learning To Love And Live with Illness

There are times in life where everything goes the way it's supposed to. Where your projects kinda get done, where you meet the right people and things seem to be going all right. Some other days, the flow of misfortune seems to be all over you. Everything is going wrong and you feel like you hit a streak of bad days.

And then someone you love gets diagnosed with something really bad.

I talked about Lupus a lot recently, you know how a person i deeply care for deals with that daily and fights. Stil that wasnt the only case like that. In the last, say, five years of my life, the majority of my friends had to deal with aloved one, their spouse, father, mother, brother, being dignosed with cancer, leukemia, lupus, multyple sclerosis, AIDS....

Some had it in a different way and found their loved one coping with drug addiction, depression, alcoholism, which no matter how you want to see it, are diseases.

It happens, with a recurrence that has something unearthly, like whatever believers want to call god, is set on systematically hitting people at their most vulnerable and then crush them slowly. That is kinda how it feels at first. My father has been diagnosed with cancer three times, and went under chemo and surgery every time. I dont have a good relationship with him and yet, feelin he was about to die was a kick to the balls.

My mother is a dysfunctional alcoholic, lately slipping into mental illness. I dont have a good relationship with her either and still, i feel like i HAVE to deal with it somehow.

Having someone close to you, whether you're on good terms with them or not, trust me it doesnt change things a bit, no matter how tough and jaded you think you are, is an experience EXTREMELY different from having the disease yourself. Not surprisignly, thers quite thte number of books and FAQ's for families or parteners of chronically ill people, substance abusers or terminally ill patients. Even less surprisingly, they help very little.

The road is hard and full of bumps but the main point is this: you have to ride it to the end, no matter how hard it gets. Itr's not because of morals or because you have to be a good person. Not even because you have to make better witjh people before they eventually die, there's a high chance it will not happen. On the contrary, ill people often get worse with their sickness. So you may see your loved ones trn into something you dont even recognize with time, and you might feel your devotion fade. Its human, it can happen. And if you never got along, things wont get better, necessarily. You wont feeel a better person. You wont gain a newly rebuilt relationship. You might have particularly intimate momenhts with them, but those moments might not last, and things will go back where they were or deteriorate.

Still, you have to do it. For yourself too. Trust me, when someone you always thought as a presence in your exiustence,m suddenly has a high chance of diappearing, and goes through pain and the humiliation of most treatments, something will click inside you.

You will find being close to them natural, instinctive. You cant solve things, and even if you always need you should've done more, you're just a human being and in some cases, your powers are very limited. But what you have to do is BE THERE. Always. Frot he small things, for chats, for dinners, for rides and walks. And for the bad times, suregeries, chemo runs, night in the hospital, moments of despair and anger (and there will be lots of those). You wont need to say always the right things, sometimes you will feel like a major fuckup. But BE THERE. ALWAYS.

It will be hard, at times almost impossible, but it wioll be probably the most important step in your life. Be there. And be strong. In private you can cry, a lot. As much as you want, theres no reason to hold the tears and ask for help and support. You wont enecessarily get it, most people dont understand. People who never dealt with this, will never get it. And some people who did, will think that the only real hard time was theirs not yours and that you're just overacting. But do not pay attention to that. You'll deal with cruelty later.

Now you have to stick with the ones you love and help them through this long ass road. Which might end well but also not. And you'll have to be there at the end too. I know it sounds bad, but when you do it, it will be the only choice that makes sense.

And in the end, youll understand that even if you felt useless, you made a difference. Cause you were there.

Feel Free to comment, btw.

2 commenti:

  1. OK Make me cry two days in a row. Still, I feel we're even. You've said so well, what I have been feeling the last few years and what so few have understood.

    You're right that it won't always be easy but I'm convinced it will be worth it. My life has been so blessed by those I've cared for through their struggles or illnesses. I am so glad I stuck it out til the end and I will continue to do so for those I care for now. Thank you for posting this. It means so much to me.

  2. Hold me, Daniel.

    Seriously, though, i dont expect this to really help, since everyone has to experience it to learn how to deal with it. but i hope it makes the utter loneliness one feels in those moments a bit more bearable.