I have three close friends with painful, debilitating and potentially fatal diseases. One has suffered for many years; the two others were recently afflicted.
We all get together several times a year. They usually exhaust me.
This is a group that gets up slowly and eases into the day. Meds need to kick in. Rooms stay dark and the house is quiet. But just for a while.
I consider myself a go-ahead girl - pretty brave when things are tough and willing to work through the challenges that face me.
I am truly a light-weight in the company of these remarkable friends.
We have never come to visit when there has not been a houseful of guests: college roommates, widows, friends down on their luck, and other fortunate freeloaders there for a good time.
Once the day gets rolling, our hosts work-out, attend charity board meetings, help friends during the day, take in stray pets. We shop and cook together and have an army for dinner every night. We screech with laughter, stay up late, reminisce, and celebrate life together with unbridled joy.
The atmosphere is filled with light and love. We carry on with jubilation for days at a time. And there is never a mention of pain, or illness . . . or fear. No complaints. No limitations.
It’s just in those early morning hours when the house is still that one can sense the silent suffering. A few hours at the start of the day when disease is in charge. I feel so helpless. There is nothing I can do to make it better.
Other than pick up some strawberries and the fish for diner and call the neighbors to see how many will join us this evening. Send Tony out for some nice red wine. And be there to share the laughter.
I get to go home pain free. They don’t. They just keep on keepin’ on.
That is courage.
God bless you, my dears.