We had a visit from a friend we have not seen in a long time. She is dear to us and we have missed her a lot. Although we stay in touch by telephone and internet activities, we have not actually been together in quite a while. We used to go to church together, sing together and go to functions together. It was really nice to catch up on what has been happening in her life.
As we talked, I noticed that we have all come to the point in life where most of our conversation revolves around illness and sickness. It reminded me of listening to the adults talk when I was a child. It was disheartening in a way.
When we were going to church together the pastoral family was very musically inclined. We had a great choir, lots of special music and many meetings that were all music. It was great fun and we cut up and enjoyed each other’s company. When that pastor and family left our church, the new pastor was very different and many of us eventually left that church.
During the time of this last pastor was when I was playing the piano, teaching Sunday School, Church Secretary and sometimes even gave the sermon on Wednesday nights. I really enjoyed all of this, but as my MS became more of a problem it became harder and harder for me to keep up with these duties. When I would be playing the piano, the notes would sometimes start to wiggle and I would lose my place and make a total mess of the song. When I would teach Sunday School, I would often not be able to say the words I wanted to or keep my thoughts in order. When I would take notes at the Board Meetings, I would sometimes not be able to hold my pen or keep up with what was being said. As hard as I tried, I could not get those in charge to understand the problems I was having. We eventually quit going to that church because of the pressure to keep doing things I could no longer handle doing. It was a very sad time for me because I really enjoyed doing all of these things. It really made me feel useless and not a part of the life I loved anymore.
Some of us have stayed in touch with each other although we have moved on to different churches and different activities. Our friend Necie, who visited us the other day, is one who has continued to be a dear friend. She has had a difficult time with RA and has had surgeries and gone through a lot of pain with this. Although our problems are quite different, we have a lot of similarities. One of which is determination to keep on with as much joy and love of life as possible.
As I think back at the things we used to enjoy together, I realize that it was not the things we were doing but just the fact that we enjoyed each other’s company that really made those times so great. Although we are now doing different things than we did back then, we still laugh and cut up just like we did then. I was really happy that our friendship could continue no matter what the circumstances.
It really saddens me to read about all the people who have lost friends and family because they don’t understand what a chronic illness does to a person. Some have lost their mate, their children, their parents, friends and a lot of the people who they thought would support and help them deal with the things they are going through. They become very depressed and have no joy in their daily lives. Although to an outsider it may seem like they are whining and complain all the time, those of us going through the daily struggles with disease know how awful it must be to go through this struggle alone. In a lot of way, it seems to me that there is nothing worse than this.
I am so grateful to God that I still have my family and most of my friends. Although some have gone their own way, most have stood by me and try to help in any way they can. They are treasures that have value far beyond anything that can be bought.