Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

The Ones We Leave Behind

I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions over the past week.   I just got back from spending over four months in San Antonio, Texas for work and got back to Denver last Tuesday.  It was an interesting four months because I learned new things and met new people.  I had some great experiences and delicious conversations about education, family, and the impact we have on each other’s lives.  When we make any kind of transition you’ll need time for adaptation.  Things aren’t the way they were when you left because you’re different.

If you’re diagnosed with a chronic or other life-altering illness the adaptation is more pronounced.  If you’re a caregiver the adaptation may be that the patient’s abilities for self-care may have changed.  In other instances, someone in your life may have died after a prolonged illness, or maybe it was sudden like Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan who died today after a severe tear in his aorta. 

It doesn’t matter what the transition is, you’ll notice a change.  Think about the people who you may have met in a support group.  For some, there comes a time when they leave the group as they either graduate to other groups; like a post-treatment group, or they decide that their time and energy is better spent somewhere else.  What’s left?  The memories of the time you spent with that person or the experiences you shared with that person.  Think about who made you feel welcome the first time you went to a support group.  That’s what I think about when I think about my time in San Antonio, those people who made me feel welcome.

Adaptation is never easy, we don’t like change and the truth is that people are not inter-changeable.  The people we meet along the way add something special to our lives.  They make us think or challenge our beliefs in a way that we are willing to expand our horizons.  People are how we get through the day whether you go to a new city for a few months, or you’ve been diagnosed with an illness and other’s share their story and their strength with you.

We don’t really ever leave anyone behind because there will always be reminders of your connection along the way.  There will be those moments when those who have left their mark on your heart emerge reminding you that the experience, the need to adapt has made you a stronger person and that’s a positive step on your journey to wellness.

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