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The Importance of Forgiveness for Those With Chronic Illness

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I’m orthodox, so it’s my Holy Week, the most important week of the year for us, ending with the most important holiday – Easter. I’ve been sick for many years, so I’ve lost out on being present for a long time. This year, I’m trying. Planning for services and teaching my children, including them in rituals such as dying red eggs.

That being said… I’m having a really bad day. I got lost twice going to a place that we go to every week, and finally gave up and came home. What does this have to do with Easter? Read till the end, please.

I’ve realized a brain that is… compromised… by lesions from Lyme disease, MS, dementia, etc… just can’t juggle “too much on the schedule,” can’t juggle one thing that may throw the routine off… even though it’s really nothing, if I look at it from the point of view of my healthy self. It’s totally messed up and hard to explain and seems ridiculous!!! On paper, it seems like I’m not doing anything exhaustive! It’s just having something, on the list, each day, that messes with a brain that has lesions on it. Add driving someplace, even if it’s someplace you go every week, and the complexities of adding that to the brain can really be too much. Then there are physical symptoms. The stress, as joyful as the activities are that I have planned, makes me keep feeling like I’m going to pass out. Like I’m going to have a heart attack. I keep wondering what is going on with me, physically, and then I remember. Oh! Its my brain. And either I get really angry, or I cry. Sometimes I really hate my brain. But this helps nothing.

Why am I telling you this?

If you are someone who loves someone else with any chronic condition, I hope this helps you understand why they can disappear and be absent even for events that ordinarily bring them so much joy. I hope it can explain and help you not be offended or annoyed when they don’t show up for something.

I’m healing, but part of that healing sometimes requires withdrawal (and a lot of work with my SLP). So I’m just trying to relax right now and sit outside, connect with the earth, listen to the birds sing, find joy in the moment and breathe. I have to forgive and love my brain, even with the way it impacts my life, because forgiveness and love is the only way to bring growth. Not anger, frustration, fear.

I’m healing. Don’t tell me you are sorry, don’t send me condolences. What I want most is for you to forgive. So forgive me, forgive your friends and family that might not “show up” for something you don’t understand. If you are struggling with a chronic illness that forces you to be absent, forgive yourself. Forgiveness will help the world heal.

Getty Image by ipopba

Originally published: April 9, 2018
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