Currently a friend of mine that I've known for over 30 years, more a sister than a friend, is fighting an infection in a hospital in the northwest. She has been battling Crohn's Disease for almost 25 years and, since I am states away from her, I thought I'd write her a letter to lift her spirits. It has been hard to find my words these last few weeks, and I'm still not sure I've found them, but thought I'd try. She needs me right now and I'm here for her - even in Arizona, even without the right words.
To my friend, my sister:
You have been through a lot and it sucks. The pain and fear that you live with, I can't even imagine, and what you've recently been through - your worst fear, what you tried to avoid all these years. The infection that came with it is a horrible turn of events and now you are fighting to live and be with the ones you love. Life sucks sometimes. Bad things happen to good people. It is the worst part of life.
Life has been especially tough for you, always waiting for the moment you'd get sick again, or to meet someone really special and have to tell them that you're sick. This means you never let anyone in, you built a wall to protect yourself and it kept you alive and fairly healthy - but not entirely happy. So many around you were rooting for you, loving you and wanting to help, but I understand why you didn't let us in. You were in defense mode, I would have done the same thing; have done the same in hard times in my life. We are a lot alike.
It's hard to be vulnerable, hard to need help and even harder to be sick. You know that I've had stomach issues my whole life as well, and my issues don't even come close to yours; but I know what it's like to feel bad every day. I also know what it's like to just want to be done with it, give up and throw in the towel. I have felt the same way, am so jealous of all of those people who can just sit down and eat a chili dog and feel fine, I wish I had their stomach and I'm sure you do too. But, we don't. We were given this lot in life for a reason, and many times I question what this reason is.
But, your life has also been good in so many ways. If this is the worst thing that is happening to you, or ever will happen to you, it isn't so bad in the grand scheme of things. I'm sure you've heard this already, from everyone around you, but it's the truth. You have been through a lot of sickness, a lot of hospital stays but you have survived. You are still here. You are a fighter and you can fight through this too, and come out the other side. This will change your life, I know it, but the part that you don't know is - it will change your life for the better. Recovery will be a tough hill to climb; but once you get to the top and over the other side - you may be free of pain forever. I often think if there were one cure for me, even something drastic and scary, I may just take it to be free from feeling sick. You have this chance. The freedom to eat a chili dog - wouldn't that be nice? To just feel better every single day, and not worry anymore? To tell someone you meet just this one thing, but then to live without fear and in happiness after that? It sounds amazing.
You can do this. You are a fighter and you will not give up. You are like me, whether you are tired or not, have had enough or not - you won't give up. You can't give up, it's not in your nature. Even though you say you want to, even if you think you want to - giving up is not a part of you - surviving is. I am not sure why any of us were put on this earth, but this is it, this is your moment to find out. Don't you want to find out? I do! I can't wait to see what happens next, what happens when you really start to live.
I am not worried because I know you will get through this, and you will be home in no time. I am not sad for you because you are one of the strongest women I know. I have no doubt that you will climb this hill and walk down the other side, out in the sun, with someone you love and the family you've always wanted. You have to have faith, but until you do, we will have faith for you. Your family, my family and me - we will carry you through this on our prayers, our positivity and our faith; we will lift you up with it, bear the weight for you, help in any way we can - all until you have faith yourself. Until you don't need us anymore, until you can walk down that hill again, happy.
You will get there. Hang on my sister. I will be there soon to hold your hand, cry with you, yell at nurses with you, break things, be mad, be happy, giggle, sing, dance - I will do it all. Anything you need, I'll be there for you to lean on. You've got this - fight, fight, fight - it is not over yet. You have so much more life to live, so much to life for, so much life left to enjoy and appreciate and a family and friends that love you. Your dream life is waiting for you, focus on it and you will get through this. Your mind is more powerful than you think.
I love you, see you soon.