It’s scary to show people just how sick I am. I let visits go way too long to avoid cutting people off or kicking them out, then end up exhausted with worse speech than ever the entire next day. I feel so guilty cancelling plans; after I do it enough times, I am sure I’ve become too unreliable to deal with. There are some people, though, worth being vulnerable for if it means keeping a friendship going and growing. They make it safe to be weak.
I knew I was feeling awful when I agreed to a cooking date with my friend Brandi last night, but I had already cancelled on her a few times and I hadn’t seen her in 2 weeks – the longest we’ve ever been apart since meeting last year. She came in, hugged me, got to work chopping, and I reclined my wheelchair while she updated me on her latest adventures. I ultimately could not eat the amazing food she made, but that was fine. We talked about books and listened to music while I dozed on and off.
Part of me hated that she was seeing me droop in my chair like a wilting flower too weak to speak, but the part of me worth listening to focused on the sounds of dishes gently clinking in the sink as she tidied up. It was so normal. This is my new normal. I am not the one washing dishes anymore, and I feel some shame over that. However, I have learned there is beauty in vulnerability. I know now that love can sound like familiar, gentle hands scouring a dirty pot.
Brandi, this song is for you.