One of the hardest parts of dealing with chronic illness an be constantly feeling like we have let others down because of the limitations imposed by our health. In many cases we feel the need to apologize, even though loved ones tell us repeatedly that we don’t. Please understand that it can make us feel better to say we are sorry—whether we need to or not. It is our way of acknowledging that our limitations, inability to participate, and the unpredictability of our chronic illnesses are no walk in the park for you either.
Loved ones, here are seven things we want to you to know and understand about our internal struggle with letting you down.
We feel guilt. Many of us feel we are not enough and are uncomfortable because we cannot offer enough. We also feel embarrassed because we need so much from our friends, partners, and families. There is also guilt because we think our children don’t have the kind of parents we believe they need and deserve. And we worry that when we are sick and in pain it stops us from being there for the people we love.
We wish we could be there for you. We would rather be having fun with you and supporting you than at home in bed. We are not at home resting because we are lazy, or because we don’t love you or want to spend time with you. If we could be with you, we would. We often miss you and want you to know that your opinions and feelings mean everything to us.