Tag Archives: open letter

An Open Letter To Chronic Illness

We’ve not known each other long, dear, but you’ve insinuated yourself into every aspect of my life. In fact, there is not a part of my life that you’ve not touched, and I thought it was time I finally told you how I really feel about you.

I resented you when you first showed up. And honestly? There are still times where I resent your presence and everything it means. I hate all the things you’ve stolen from me, but more importantly, all the happiness I’ve let you take. I despise the impact you’ve had on me, my relationships, and my body.

But…

BUT.

Your arrival has changed my life in many positive ways, and for that, I must thank you. You’ve strengthened my relationship with my fiance, even while you’ve made life harder. Without your pushing your way into my life, I wouldn’t have found how strong I truly can be. I wouldn’t have met some of the most precious people I’ve ever known. I wouldn’t have followed my dreams.

I do hate how your presence means a revolving schedule of doctor appointments, medications, and sleepless nights. I don’t like our days spent curled up on the couch together or the times you keep me from my favorite activities.

But I have to admit I like how life has slowed down for me since you’ve been here. I am grateful for your forcing me to stop and smell the roses. Without you, I’d probably still be rushing about, now I know how to appreciate the quieter pace. When you came along and showed me how short and hard life can be, you taught me to treat every day as a gift, and I’ve tried very hard to do that.

Overall, I suppose I’m grateful for all you’ve taught me, though I wouldn’t say no if you wanted to take your leave. You’ve made me stronger and more compassionate, even while your pain feels as though it’s tearing me apart. The conundrum that is our relationship is both a blessing and a curse. And I suppose that’s the way it must be.

In closing, I must thank you for changing my life. For all the good, and yes, the bad as well. I suppose you’re now very much a part of me, and I don’t quite know what I’d do without you.

Keep on living, I guess.

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We Are Love

Scotty-

Five years ago you took me on a picnic for our first date and forever changed my life. Next year we will stand before our loved ones and say aloud the promises we’ve already made to each other. Each year on our anniversary, I write a letter to you or share our story. This year, I didn’t know what else could be said that I hadn’t already written. And then, this came to me…

Us

We are date nights at Denny’s, sipping hot cocoa and playing cards. We are drives around this city while we shared all there was to know about each other. We are popcorn and M&M’s, movie nights, board games, and take-out Chinese food.

Ian

You are passion and humbleness, and I am your biggest fan.

We are five years of the highest highs and the lowest lows. We are overcoming any obstacle. We are “you do for family” and redefining who our family is. We are celebrating any achievement, because they all matter. We are advocates for your dad and I am the daughter-in-law he loves, even if I did beat him at Scrabble on Father’s Day once.

We are late nights in the hospital, with you always holding my hand. You are the hard worker who makes sure I’m taken care of, no matter the cost. We are battling chronic illness together, continuing to live this life to the fullest.

Ring

You are the man who proposed to me three times, with three different rings, each of them as precious to me as our love.

You are the man who loves my son as if he were your own, and my heart swells to see you two together.

Family(framed)

We are the parents of a teenager, both terrified and excited. We are talks of school and grades, and debating whether he’s ready for his own cell phone. We are a family of our own, the three of us and our doggy.

We are the sum of every moment of these five years, and yet so much more. We are the promise of a future together, the promise that we’ll always have a partner in this life.

UsWedding

You are the man I’ve dreamed of all my life, my prince, the one I thought couldn’t possibly exist until you came and rescued me. You are the one who showed me who I could be, who saw the beauty inside me when no one else did.

We will be the cute little old couple helping each other along in the nursing home. I will try to not run over your toes with my wheelchair as you repeat yourself for the tenth time because I’ve gone completely deaf. We will be playing Scrabble with our grandkids while we tell them how Grandma is a Ducks fan and Grandpa is a Beavers fan and it’s the only thing we’ve ever disagreed on in our entire lives together. Well that, and the fact that Grandma doesn’t like pumpkin or avocado.

HouseDivided

You and your love gives me hope EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The promise of our future gives me a reason to keep fighting.

Here’s to another five years, my love, and many more after that. Here’s to making more memories and traditions. Here’s to a lifetime of love.

Hello Mother, I Need You To Hear Me

I need to say these things to you, and I need you to really HEAR me.

My health is important. It’s important to me, it’s important to Scotty, and I would hope it would be important to my parents. Your actions recently clearly state otherwise.

I don’t know if it’s because it’s hard for you to see your daughter sick, or if you honestly believe it’s some sad bid for attention. Whatever the reason behind your behavior, it’s unacceptable. I AM SICK. This is not up for debate.

I didn’t choose this, I certainly didn’t make it up, and it’s not just going to go away.

The medications I’m taking aren’t easy. They’re not easy on my body, and the decision to choose them as treatment doesn’t come easy. Ultimately I have to decide if I want to reduce my symptoms now and risk possibly shortening my life span or contracting another (often worse) illness, OR do I live without medication and spend my life confined to bed. I choose to risk the medication, because I want to live the best life I possibly can, for as long as I can. Maybe you’d make a different decision. Hopefully we never have to find out.

I know we’ve talked about this before, but for whatever reason, you still can’t seem to be the parents I need you to be. When you were diagnosed with cancer, my sisters and I were worried about you. I never questioned you, your diagnosis, or your treatment. I took care of you, helped in the best ways I knew how, and tried my best to support you. Is it wrong for me to expect the same from you?

I could sit here and explain the science behind my illness, but it really doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter. I am sick. It is a lifelong illness. To date, there is no cure. I’m trying my hardest to live the very best life I can. If you can’t be a part of my treatment plan by being supportive and encouraging, then I must distance myself. The stress and anxiety over this strain in our relationship is not healthy for me. Your phone calls during my treatment yesterday caused my vital signs to freak out, and the nurse and doctor both had to calm me down.

That is completely unacceptable.

So this is me setting a boundary and trying to take care of myself. If I don’t answer your calls, you’ll know why. I can’t let your negativity and nonchalant dismissal of me and my illness continue to affect my well being. It breaks my heart to know I can’t count on my own mother for support while I battle the biggest fight of my life. I can only hope and pray my own son never has cause to feel this way about me…

Six Years

Today is your birthday.

Six years ago today, you were at a BBQ, celebrating, acting as though you’d made the turn and were finally seeing the light in life again. Six years ago today, you looked happy in all the photos that were taken.

Those pictures are the last we have of you. Whatever joy you may have found in that day was later sapped away and the grip of depression retained its wicked hold on you. In a matter of weeks, DAYS, we found ourselves staring at those photos with tears streaming down our faces.

Many times over these last years, I’ve asked myself why? How could you? What was the final straw that broke your back? I’ve alternated between anger that you would leave me to find you like that and hurt that you didn’t reach out to me. I WAS IN THE VERY NEXT ROOM.

Through my own battles with depression, I know you couldn’t see far enough out of the pit to see how much we all loved you, how much we would miss you. I know if you had thought of me finding you that morning, you would never have made that fatal decision. You would never have intentionally hurt me like that.

But even knowing that, I’m still hurt. I’m still angry. And I harbor a deep, cutting hatred for HER. Depression’s lies and taunts hurt badly enough without having them repeated back to you by the one person who is supposed to love you the most. I can never forgive her for pushing you further that night.

You’ve missed a lot in these last six years. More babies have been born, we have more nieces and nephews for you to love on. My own son has grown so much! He may one day rival you for height. We’ve all moved, had relationships come together and fall apart. Our parents have bought a new home and gotten new dogs. Your dad is going to pin Chief this year. And I’m going to be married next year.

You’ve left a void, Ty, that can’t be filled. There’s a darkness in your dad’s eyes, an emptiness in my mother’s soul. Our sisters miss your camaraderie, my son misses his favorite uncle. I miss my brother, my friend.

You’d be 30 today. We’d probably have another BBQ, they were your favorite. There would be water fights maybe, definitely more photos. We’d have tons of great food, maybe you and I would swap a few new recipes. You and my fiance could talk music, Kim would make you one of her famous cakes, you and Stepf would maybe plan some kind of special thing for your dad’s pinning ceremony.

Most of all, you’d be here. And you’d be smiling.

**If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please know that help is available. 1-800-273-TALK is a 24 hour hotline. Please call. Please reach out. Suicide is NEVER the answer.