Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Story: Loneliness and Chronic Illness

Today, I'll continue with the Invisible Illness Awareness week blogging. One of the topics we were given to write about is Our Story. How has our illness affected us? What have we learned from it? Regular readers of my blog have read about my struggles with loneliness. For me, it is probably the hardest thing about dealing with chronic illness. I realize that I'm at a stage in my life where friendships are going to change. Women my age are definitely in transition. Their children are leaving home, many are getting married and having children of their own. Many women are retiring. Some are finding that those carefree retirement years they've longed for aren't so carefree. Financial trouble, aging parents and, perhaps, becoming a primary caregiver for their grandchildren. So, I realize those who do not have a chronic illness do have a lot on their plate. But, the thing is, those of us with chronic illnesses are dealing with those things, too. Is it too much to ask for a friend to step-up and carry the friendship for a while? And, those of us who are chronically ill don't expect a lot. At least I don't. A card in the mail, a dinner dropped by, a special gift. All of those are nice. But, what I miss and want most of all is conversation. Talks where a friend really listens. Where they don't try and change the subject, or worse yet steer the conversation back to be all about them. Look, I realize some of the things we want to talk about might be uncomfortable for you. I really do. But, true friendship is like that. There'll be happy times and sad. There'll be real life, not so pleasant topics come up. Divorce. Death. Job loss. And, yes, illness. These are the times we really need to suck it up and be there for each other. You don't always have to say anything. Just listen. I promise to do the same for you.

In closing, I'd like to share a book with you. Written by, Lisa Copen, the founder of Rest Ministries, it gives you plenty of suggestions (505) on ways to help a chronically ill friend. So, now you'll know exactly what you can do to help.

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