No relationship is easy. They should be all very unique, they should all reflect us, we should be able to recognize some of our traits in our relationships, after all, we are friends (and our relatives should also be our friends to maintain a relationship) because we have plenty in common (friends and family alike).
I can only speak on my relationships from this point on. I have struggled in my relationships with my siblings, and I find myself sometimes not wanting to share my struggle with them because I do not want to worry them for the most part. As Sickle Cellers, sometimes we tend to hide what we are going through because we think the reaction we are going to receive is one of pity; and if it does come across as such, 90% of the time it is done in advertently.
Someone mentioned to me that my posts paint the image of a single woman, that I sound like I am a single person going through this journey alone, I have never thought about it that way but I have since given it plenty thought. I have thought about it long and hard, so much that it has actually taken me a couple of weeks just to write this post. Two weeks later, I do not feel that I am any closer to having an answer that makes sense but I came up with this.
My experience is one of a single woman, even when I have someone in my life. Even with the support of friends and family, it will always be the experience of a single woman. If I wake up in the middle of the night, and he rushes me to the hospital and stays in the ER with me even when he has to head to work in a few hours, which I love him for, I will always sound like a single woman. We used to argue because I would not let him in because I withheld what I was going through at times; I had to learn to talk about it and talk about stuff that I was not comfortable sharing. All this makes me appreciate him more than he would ever know, but (by now you should know how this sentence will end), I will always sound like a single woman.
When it comes to family, especially since I am the only one who was hand-picked by God to be gifted with Sickle Cell Disease, it tends to be quite challenging to help your siblings, parents, grandparents, understand your ordeal. At times I find it is easier to just say I am fine, I am OK, to keep my smile plastered and push through. I am sure they would drop what they’re doing to tend to my needs during any hospital stay, but I always feel like I am an encumbrance even though I am not.
Being in the ER, getting my port accessed, getting those crazy narcotics injected in my body, if and when the physicians feel like it, being pumped full of IV fluids, dealing with nurses who feel they can disrespect you by insinuating that you are a drug seeker, going through a terrible crisis and just trying to take it day by day so that your body doesn’t shut down on you; even when he is holding my hand in my hospital room, I experience it all by myself, because I can try to explain what I am enduring until I am blue in the face, he will never understand it, so I will always sound like a single woman when I speak about my journey.
I say all this to say that relationships are important and your friends and family give some sense to this life that you’re living, even though at times, as a SickleCeller, you feel like only another SickleCeller, only a fellow Warrior can understand what you are going through, do your part in the relationship, open up and share what you’re feeling. We must break the habit of internalizing our pain and our emotions. I fully understand that unless someone is in your shoes, they cannot speak on your experience, but sharing what you are going through with the people who love and care about you can only be beneficial to you. Relationships aren’t easy and I don’t think they’re meant to be, but if you do your part in the relationship you will find that they are not that hard to navigate through.
Smile, it could be worse !!!