For a long time my life looked just like my friends’. I graduated high school and went to college where I did college things like go to parties and join a sorority. After college I got a job, moved into my own apartment, and started my adult life. I bought a house. I got married. All things my friends were doing, too.
Suddenly I feel different. People are having babies. Advancing their careers. Planning their futures.
All things I’m not sure I’ll ever get to do.
I don’t know if it was turning 30 – spending so much time thinking about that milestone and what it means. If it was spending weeks planning #for30more – being consumed by all things cystic fibrosis. Or if it was some combination of the two. Or neither. But I’ve been struggling.
Struggling not to suffocate from the unending sadness.
Struggling to feel joy for friends and their milestones – occasions I would normally love celebrating.
Struggling to participate in normal, everyday conversations; letting them get drowned out by a constant internal conversation, one full of questions with no answers; of “yes, but”s; of my biggest fears.
Struggling to relate to almost everyone. And it’s been so very lonely.
Because of this I’ve been pulling away; hiding again; finding comfort in the isolation – a place that’s lonely and sad, yes, but is also a place where I don’t feel like an outsider. I don’t have to fake it or pretend everything is okay; instead I can cry and get angry and welcome the pain in. I can try to get comfortable with these things rather than push them away.
And I hope that by giving myself the time and space to explore the pain and sadness that comes with having a terminal illness, I’ll find my way back. Back to those conversations, back to my friends. Back to myself.