To the friends who have met me after chronic illness,
You may have met me through my kids. You may have met me in the neighborhood. But that doesn’t matter, what matters is that you met me after I became chronically ill- but you still chose to become my friend.
You weren’t put off by my disheveled looks, my wrinkled clothes, my messy house, my tired eyes, my seldom seen smiles. You didn’t judge me, look at me strangely or differently, or walk away.
You gave me a chance because you are a special person. One who can see beyond appearances and chaos, and focus on what is important.
People. Helping others. Being a good person and friend.
You met me after Lyme Disease and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder took over part of my brain and made me more anxious, confused and irritable. You met me after I was recovering from surgery and going through surgical menopause. You still supported me after I learned that I had multiple pulmonary embolisms, and didn’t know whether or not I would survive. You met me when I could barely take care of my children, let alone myself.
But, you still stuck around. You still gave me a chance. You still cared no matter what.
You didn’t stop coming around when I could not even make it to the door because I was too anxious to answer it. You didn’t stop calling or texting me to see if I needed anything, even though I could never return the favor. You didn’t stop asking me to do things even though you knew that I couldn’t for quite awhile.
You helped get my young son to school each and every day so that he wouldn’t miss out on anything. You made sure he was safe and well cared for. You made sure he had fun whenever he was with you and your children. You made sure my eleven year old daughter was also okay and had what she needed to get through the many crises we faced these past 2 years.
You never complained, you were just there. Right where I needed you, right when I needed you. You never asked for anything in return.
THAT is the definition of a true friend. Helping and caring for someone and being there without any expectations or desire for a reward or returned favor. That is the definition of you.
You are selfless. You are a wonderful person. You are just what I needed, but never thought I’d find again due to my maladies.
I am very lucky that I have a great husband who helps me with everything. But it is also nice to have some good friends. Friends like you. To laugh with, to spend time with, to grow with, to become better people with.
I had almost given up hope that I would find good friends in my new home state. After my many ailments, I thought it would be impossible.
But there you were, walking slowly but surely by my side. Maybe you saw a glimmer in my eye of what I once was- active, funny and spontaneous. Maybe you got brief hints of what my personality truly is, when free from the constraints of pain and sickness.
In a world where many people are focused upon material things and influential people, you choose not to be. You can see past all of that, and get right to the heart of the matter. You were able to see what was in my heart.
I can’t begin to tell you how much you mean to me, and to my family. I can’t begin to thank you enough for how you have helped me, and for how you have accepted me and all of my limitations.
Having you around has brought some newfound joy to my life. Having you around has helped me recover. Having you around has helped me smile again.
A lot of people in their forties have to deal with at least one chronic illness. They are lucky if they have good friends around to help them adjust and get through it. But, making new friends when you have more than one debilitating condition is very difficult. It can be a very lonely time. Online support groups can be very helpful, but nothing takes the place of a nearby friend. One who is there to listen, commiserate with and to give you a hug when you need it the most.
Thank you for being my friend. I know that it can be hard sometimes because of all I am dealing with, but hopefully better health and good times are just around the corner. I look forward to sharing those times with you.
And as I struggle to fall asleep tonight, I will have a smile on my face because I know that kind people like you exist in this world.
You are just what the doctor ordered.