Dear Friends and Loved Ones of Sick People

We understand. We do. It is extremely difficult for you to have to be involved with someone who has a serious and/or chronic illness. You are trying to have a happy, healthy relationship with us and all we do is bring you down. We insist on having nothing positive to say for long stretches of time, always answering your well meaning “How are you?”s with our current bevy of physical ailments and challenges. All you want to do is be able to share with us your latest adventures, the fun things you’ve done, places you’ve gone and experiences you’ve had, but no – we have to be Debbie Downers and shut down because, sometimes, it’s too difficult for us to hear about how great your life is right now. Believe me, we know how hard you try to cheer us up and make us forget our daily aches, illnesses, appointments, treatments, etc. by reminding us how lucky we are, how things could be worse, and how you are here with us to shoulder the burden and make it easier. We appreciate how you continue to try to make plans with us, even though we constantly let you down, disappoint you and ruin your plans by being sick or not having the physical or mental energy to follow through. We know we’ve taxed your patience, tapped out your sympathy, overburdened your shoulders and perforated your bubble of positive perkiness. You want nothing more to slap us and snap us out of our self-centeredness; to end our wallowing and self-pity and remind us that other people have problems and everything isn’t and can’t be about us. We know we should try harder to be better friends and lovers and try to move beyond our personal pain and depression so we’re not such a drain on you and your resources. Although we apologize over and over, and express our guilt at being so difficult and unreliable, we know those apologies become meaningless when we make them so often. We know that, just because we live with the sickness 24-7 doesn’t mean you should have to. We know we do get self-involved. We know that, often, we have to devote all of our energy to just getting out of bed, getting through our day and getting done what needs to be done, and it leaves little energy or ability to do more or be more for others. But we realize that even that excuse gets tired after a while. We know we should be grateful that, even after all of this, you’re still here, and we should be better at showing our appreciation for that.

So we want you to know, we understand. We truly are sorry. We truly want to get better, not only for ourselves, but for you. We do see and appreciate all you do and try to do to help or uplift and support us, even if we don’t always have the right disposition to express our appreciation. We do know how hard it is for you to have a “sick person” in your life, what a drain it is on you to have to hear about it, be exposed to it and be impacted by it so often. And if (or when) you decide it’s become too much and you have to cut us off and walk away, we will understand that, too. After all, you didn’t sign on for this and you shouldn’t have to deal with it, just because we don’t have the choice. We just hope you’ll understand that, like you, we really wish we weren’t sick all the time, and sad and frustrated all the time, and unable to do things all the time. And we get as sick (pardon the pun)of saying it as you do of hearing it. We really do. We don’t enjoy or indulge our illness or limitations. We don’t love that we have to withdraw from our relationships and lives. We don’t welcome the disruption and inconvenience to our work, routine and activities. We aren’t reveling in the sympathy and enjoying the attention. In fact, we’d give it all up just to be able to get up and go outside, make and follow through with a plan, go a full 24 hours without any kind of pain or discomfort, work a full week at work with no lost time, doctors appointments or enjoy a good meal and drink, take a road trip, visit with friends, laugh, dance, and be truly happy to be alive and healthy. Most of all, we’d love to be the friend, lover and/or partner you want, need and deserve. We really, really would.

Just wanted you to know we know.

Your appreciative loved ones.

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9 Responses to Dear Friends and Loved Ones of Sick People

  1. 3rdnlong says:

    Thankyou for the heart felt post…. you’d be surprised the friends who “disappear” when you start the fight with a disabilitating illness. Printing thus for my bathroom mirror to read again as necessary.

  2. sandy says:

    You are loved, fella, near and far.

  3. javabear says:

    Well, I for one think you’re wonderful just the way you are, warts and all. And I love you.

  4. the cajun says:

    Making excuses, pretending all is well when others are present doesn’t cut it anymore. I feel worse for trying to lie about it. If you really want to know how I am, and ask “How are You?” just be ready for the truth. The additional stress of the lies and “let’s pretend” are killing me.
    You said it all, but some will still not hear.
    Big hugs and healing light I send you.

  5. jayinva says:

    Wow, Sean. Please know…you never tax me, you always, even when sick, are my friend, no matter what. I will always listen, cajole, make fun, have fun, take my clothes off. I know it’s not easy, I’ve had chronically ill friends and family members. But please never consider yourself a burden. You certainly aren’t to me. To me, you’re a friend who has to deal with unimaginable (to me) pain, suffering, recovery, all while trying to LIVE. So count me among those by your side. No matter what.

    Peace ❤

  6. justajeepguy says:

    You sound so sad, tired and guilty. Hopefully in a few months you’ll be skipping down the yellow brick road that leads to OZ and home and finally of the section that is in the dark forest. I’m not sure which is worse – having someone who receives our bursts of pain and frustration or having no one.

  7. Raybeard says:

    Read and noted – but thanks for saying it.

  8. Amy says:

    This is a wonderful post.

    I never comment on your blog, but this required something to be said. This is a perfect description of what so many chronically ill folks want to say to their loyal and loving companions and friends. “I am sorry” sounds empty when you have said it a hundred times. Yet each time you say it, you mean it more than the last time. Sometimes it is the guilt you feel or the disappointment, again, in someone’s eyes that makes you feel worse than the illness itself.


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