A Letter To My Chronically Ill Best Friend

A Letter To My Chronically Ill Best Friend

Us Against the World
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Dear My Chronically Ill Friend,

I want you to know that I care. I want to be there for you. I want to know the truth when I ask how you’re feeling. That’s right. I know you’re lying when you say, “I’m fine” or “Good, you?” I wish you wouldn’t lie. There are days when I think you are trying to convince yourself more than you’re trying to convince me. Those days I want to scream at the people who made you feel like it’s wrong to not be okay. The days I wish I could scream so loud that the whole world would hear me when I say, “It’s okay to not be okay.” I want you to not only hear me but to believe me. You deserve more than to feel you have to silence yourself. You deserve more than this.

Then I look at you, I talk to you, I listen to you. I am reminded that you are one of the strongest people I have ever met. That you have so much creative talent that every time you write it flows from you in a way that would amaze some of the best writers in time. I am reminded of how big your heart is. I see it everyday. The way you speak so adamantly about clubs and writing shows more than you know. The way you advocate, not for yourself, but for everyone who has ever felt the way you do and who don’t have the voice to fight for themselves. The way that you encourage those you care about.

You are the bravest person I have ever known, because bravery isn’t fighting your fear. Bravery is facing it. Bravery is the way you let peoples hate and prejudice flow past you instead of letting the waves of their lies and misinformed ideas crash into you, never ceasing to try and stop you from catching your breath. Instead you stand tall and let it recede back into the depths it came from. You feel it as deeply as anyone, but you don’t let yourself be dragged away with it. You never let the waves of their hate drown you.

Now I am reminded that your sickness woke you up to the world around you. No longer do you run from an opportunity but actively seek them. Now you struggle everyday, to learn, to grow, and to experience the world in a way that many don’t feel the need to.

I am reminded that you are a person. Not a diagnosis. I want to hear about your life. The good parts. The social political and trivial daily tasks. I want to know about your friends, hear about your family, talk about your life. I want you to be happy.

When on the rare occasion that you come up with these ‘what if’ eventualities and say things like ‘if something happens’ there are so many mixed feelings that rise up to meet your words. First I am glad to know that you trust me like this. To me it screams that you are aware of how much I mean it when I say “I’m here for you”. Then next the fear swells up to drown the pleasant, friendly moment. I am scared beyond belief that you think those ‘what ifs’ might be closer than I thought. I am scared for you. The fear you must feel at the thought. The way that you promise everything is okay with a smile that doesn’t touch your eyes. The way that suddenly everything seems more serious. That any minute you could be lost to your illness. I am suddenly sad. Selfishly, I am sad for myself. Sad for you. Sad for your family. Sad for the world. A world that without you is suddenly missing a lot. Even if it doesn’t know it.

Then I am happy. Happy because I have had the wonderful and amazing privilege of getting to know you. The privilege of getting to know one of the strongest, bravest, most caring people I have ever met. Happy to have found a friend who understands and listens and can appreciate the smallest moments, and teaches me to everyday.

Never could I have wished for a better friend. I will always be here for you. Even if it means us against the world, because I’d have an amazing friend to battle with.

~ KS

Cover Image Credit: Katie Schaffer

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Being Sick In College Is A Real Struggle

Being sick in college is definitely not as fun as having a sick day in middle school or high school.

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Something that I have had to deal with multiple times these past two semesters is being sick while in school. It can be a real pain especially depending on what type of sickness it is. I have had tonsillitis, mono, and I'm pretty sure I also had the flu.

Being at school and away from home can make being sick worse because there is nobody to take of you such as your parents. Another thing is having to make the decision to get the rest that your body needs in order to feel better or staying on top of your assignments to avoid falling behind. My parents will always tell me to get a good night's sleep so my body can feel better the next day. However, sometimes I will feel more stress if my work isn't getting done and I feel like I'm falling behind and leaving things to get done in the last minute.

Currently, I am sick now and the past few days haven't been easy, but I still attended all my classes so I wouldn't miss any material or assignments that were given. I usually end up feeling the worst at night when trying to fall asleep, and by that time the doctors are not present at the student health center. Even though my health is important I usually don't like taking too much time out of my day to go to the health center to see a doctor. Some days I don't really have much free time before the evening.

I don't believe I have been over-exerting myself, but I don't want to just stay in my bed all day and sleep, even though that may be what is best for me. Most professors will be understanding if I email them and provide them a doctor's note as well, but I also just got back from a conference where I had to miss two days of classes next week.

I have been trying to keep hydrated so that way my body can fight the sickness. Also, I have been told if you stay hydrated you can flush the virus out of your body quicker.

Eating can also be a pain when you have a sore throat, for the past couple of days I have tried to have some soup in order to help. Most meals I would have to force myself to eat something of substance in order to give my body some type of energy in order to get through the day. It's also never fun not being able to breathe out of your nostrils. If it wasn't my nose being stuffed, then it would be constantly runny so there was no winning that battle.

Looking back, I probably should have done a bit more work over spring break in order to get ahead in the case that something like this would happen. I wanted my break to be exactly that, a break. After not being home for a few months I just wanted some time off to relax.

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