Like me, my husband’s grandmother was chronically ill. We bonded over the treatments we had tried, medications we had hated, and the general awesome realization that us spoonies get when we find someone else who knows what we’re going through.
When we got the call last Friday that J’s grandma had two hours to two days to live, we got out of bed, packed our bags, and headed out. I didn’t do a very good job packing because I’m still fighting the cymbalta sleeps, and our car had issues because neither of us had thought to check the coolant levels before we headed out. Still, we got there in time to talk with his grandma before she fell asleep and never woke up.
So, here’s the thing. I know a lot of times us chronically ill people get into a pretty negative mindset, and we have every right to. But what happens when we have to be strong, not for ourselves for once, but for someone we care about?
This week I found that out. I survived off snack foods because I didn’t want to bother anyone who was grieving about the fact that I couldn’t eat their comfort foods. I played with kids and distracted them to the point that I literally thought I was going to fall where I stood.
I hugged, I passed out programs, braided hair, served food, and in the end? I think J’s grandma would have been proud of me. Sure, I’m not ready to raise four kids, get a master’s degree, and teach college level history courses. In fact, I’ve spent the last two days in bed because I physically exhausted myself and only kept going through sheer stubbornness. (Stubbornness and a lot of ibuprofen. Too much ibuprofen. My stomach is killing me now. Don’t take as much ibuprofen as I did. Ever.)
Anyway. I guess the point is, sometimes I’m guilty of getting into an unhealthy mindset. The “I’m sick, I can’t do this, I won’t try, I can be as cranky as I like because I’m sick forever.” I’m not saying everyone gets into this mindset, or even most people, but I know that I do.
So I’m going to work harder on being positive, helping out my husband emotionally, and being emotionally available for those I love. No more “a headache? Wait until you’ve had a three week migraine and THEN get back to me.” No more “Wah Wah you have a cold. I’ve popped my knee out of socket three times today. Who has it worse?”
Relationships take work on both sides. Sometimes I’ll just have to accept that I’ll be on my feet for two hours because I’m passing out programs at a funeral. And I’ll just be grateful that I have so many people who want me to be part of their life: the good parts and the bad.
and I’ll spend the next week in bed.