We could never walk this path alone.
This is to the caregivers, the mothers, the fathers, the sisters, the brothers, the wives, the husbands, the friends. To all of you who give of yourself to make the life of someone else easier, brighter, better, and more manageable.
There are times when we give you a hug, and say thank you. Hold on to those times, and know we mean it always. There will be dark days, and you will need these words as medicine to ease your pain.
There are times when we get angry or frustrated, and you are our target. Don’t let these words sink in. Call a friend, take a break, have some coffee or tea, take a bath, take a walk. Take care of yourself. Above all, know you don’t deserve it.
Hold on to the memories of our laughter and love.
There are times when the reality of our illness gets into your heart and colors your mood, dark. Go ahead and cry. It is sad. It is hard. There are days when it does seem unfair. Give space to your feelings. Find someone you can be honest with who doesn’t judge you for feeling like you just can’t do it another day.
There are times when you doubt yourself. Is this the best way? Making choices out of love and concern is always the best way even if it makes us unhappy. We don’t always know the right way.
There are mornings, there are afternoons, and there are evenings…you get tired. If you need to go away for a few days, and you can arrange it, don’t feel guilty. Go. We will both be better for it.
These are some of the things we can’t always express to you, but if we could, we would tell you, your care is as important as our care. We depend on you to be patient, to be firm, to be compassionate, to be helpful, to be kind, and to be there for us when no one else is. In order to be there for us, you need to be there for yourself. Do the things you enjoy.
Somewhere in all of our hearts we wish we could give you a medal. We wish the president of the United States would recognize your effort. We wish we could buy you a trip to Paris or to a tropical beach. We wish you could have whatever your heart desires. Because more than anyone else, we know you deserve these things.
Know that even when we can’t say it, we love you. You are our chance, our hope, and our light.
We can’t walk this path alone, and it is your hand we reach for.