When I first became aware of what my illnesses were going to do to me, I panicked and was so sad to have to tell my children what was coming. It is easiest for me to write out my words and so that is what I did. A two page letter explaining each disease and what it was and what was coming in my future.
I gave them all the letters at the same time and asked them to read them privately. I knew it was going to be hard to watch their faces and see the fear they would feel for me. I had always taken care of them and been strong for them. Now I had to tell them that I had all these weaknesses that were going to consume my life.
However you chose to tell your families about your illnesses, I think it is very important for them to know what to expect. For me it was imperative that they knew, since eventually I was going to need their help to function. I also had to be prepared for my birds so that they would be cared for, when the time comes for me to say goodbye to them. Trust me my heart ached with every word and decision that had to be done, but it would not be fair to anyone if I didn’t.
When a person has chronic illnesses, each day is a gift. We have no idea when things can get worse or even end. We have to take the time (regardless of how difficult it is) to make all the needed preparations and put things in place so your family knows what to do. None of us have a promise of a certain amount of time so this truly applies to everyone. For me the chronic illnesses just made me more aware of the time I have left.
Sharing with my family was also important due to my depression. They needed to be aware that there will be days where I am in tears and I cannot hide it or pretend that it isn’t happening. They needed to know that there was nothing they could do to help or change it, but just love me through it and leave me be.
I also have days full of pain where it is very difficult for me to do anything, including walking or even turning on the faucet. There are times where I can’t lift anything but the lightest of items. These times I need their help greatly and they needed to know this ahead of time.
The thing I hate the most is the memory loss. There are days where I struggle to remember the simplest of words at times. I had to share this with my children though so they would understand it and know it would happen from time to time.
The hardest thing of all though is feeling their pain for what I am going through and seeing in their eyes how much they wish this was not happening. So while I had to let them know everything that was happening and going to happen….it breaks my heart to see and feel their pain.
For those of you that are having to tell your families about your illnesses, I truly understand that this is the greatest of all the pains you will ever feel. Nothing is harder than having to share this sadness with your loved ones. My heart goes out to all of you who are going through this and I pray for you all to find peace in your journey ❤