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Dear Friend Whose Child Has a Chronic Illness

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Dear friend,
There are so many things I wish I could tell you about my past.

I wish I could tell you about when my child first got sick
How it truly impacted us all, and not always for the better.
I wish I could explain to you how real the divide is from before and after
And how as much as I love him,
I sometimes in earnest yearn for the before.
I wish I could explain to you how ill he was,
How fearful we were, how blissfully naïve we were.
I wish you could sympathize with the hours, days and months spent living in hospital.
And how the unknown was the worst part of it all.

I wish I could describe to you the feeling of being utterly alone
Even when people were there.
I wish you could grasp the devastating darkness
Of hearing dismal reports from doctors again and again.

I wish I could explain how terrible it is watching your child suffer
Screaming in pain with no relief, while all you can do is watch.
I wish you could conceptualize how hard it is
Sending him for yet another surgery, test or procedure.

I wish you could have seen the hours and hours of therapy
That went into helping him succeed.
I wish you would realize that it didn’t come easily
And that there are still scars.

I wish you could see the self-doubt that I constantly battle
Never feeling like I’m good enough.
I wish you could grasp all we gave up
And all the dreams we had to let fly away.

I wish you could feel our love for him
How my heart swells just thinking about him
I wish our pride in him was palpable
So you could experience a fraction of it too.
I wish you could have seen who we were before
Just to understand how we have changed.

I wish you could see how we have worked on ourselves
To be able to see the light even when things seem dark.
I wish you could recognize that all that work and experience is why we can offer advice and help you now.
I wish you could see all of this
And so much more.

I wish I could show you this before we speak again
So you can stop belittling an experience you know little about.
I wish I could show you this, because you of all people should understand
But I know you have too much hurt to recognize this right now.
I wish I could take away your pain
And make things a little easier.

I wish a lot of things
And even though you’re not ready to hear this yet, I’m here for you.
I wish I could help you see life isn’t a competition
Of who is going through worse
I wish you were in a place to understand
But one day you will get there, and we are here to support you however we can.

Getty image by Milkos

Originally published: August 13, 2019
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