Dear Unexpected Pain in My Ass,
You’re not what I imagined and you’re not what I asked for. You can expect me to feel angry, disappointed, and wrestle with self-pity. It’s easy to blame you. But I’m learning that you’re just a catalyst, and I am the cause – I move my emotions.
You’re here and I’m trying to get used to that, but don’t expect me to welcome you with open arms. You didn’t think you could stomp on the portrait of my perfect life and have me just stand by idle. I’m shaken and stirred, but I’m not down and out.
You force me to look at my loved one in a way that challenges my ideas about love and relationships. I never back down from a challenge and ideas can change.
You make me feel vulnerable, stripped down, and even defenceless. But I’ll dig deep and find another gear. The callus from your wounds will be my armour, but it will never make me callous. It will never harden me.
My friends don’t understand you, which means they hardly understand me anymore. But I’ve met some other people along the way, some people who know you well. They’ll help me move through your unpredictable and wily ways.
Physicians deplore you so much, they hardly notice me. I’m okay being in the silent minority, walking quietly but carrying a big, life supporting stick.
Your habit of poking your nose into my life, my work, my family, my solitude, into every space that I live and breathe, is exhausting. But you can’t deflate my will or wreak havoc on my resolve. I’m like a finely tuned All-in-One – scanning, printing, copying, and faxing my way to making sure you go on yours.
So to you, the disease, illness, affliction that shakes my life, I say: You may have made me, but you won’t break me.
The Unsilenced Caregiving Minority