It can be a tough road, the one we walk with those who fight demons. The roller coaster of emotions feels endless, even in the calmer moments.
Sometimes you’re scared. You’re concerned about their daily well-being. Did they eat today? Did they show up to work? Did they come home last night? Did they get in a fight? Were they arrested? This is a fear that transcends the mundane and is rooted in life and death. Your mind cannot help but go there.
Sometimes you’re embarrassed. When people ask how this person is doing, you might lie and say “Great!” because they don’t need to know, right? You wouldn’t want your darker days discussed publicly, so you pretend, for them. But it’s not always for them, it’s for you too. Maybe it’s too hard to talk about emotionally, or maybe you don’t want people to think less of you…because somehow it is a reflection of you and your family. You are all better than that.
Sometimes you’re angry. They lied to you. They stole from you. You called in a favor and they dropped the ball. They have no right to put you through this. They have disrupted your life in ways that seem unforgivable, and you are mad at yourself for trusting them, again.
Sometimes you feel guilty, guilty because you didn’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Guilty because their poor parents are struggling, trying to be both beacons of light and understanding while holding them accountable. Guilty because you feel like you should have reached out more often, listened better, tried harder. Maybe you could have helped them avoid this ugliness, somehow.
But you wouldn’t feel any of these things, if you didn’t first feel love. Love for the amazing chef/musician/runner/historian. Love for that smile and infectious laugh. Love for the dreams they’ve shared and the goals they’ve accomplished. This person is not defined by their pain- they are so much more than that. They are your brother or sister, or mother or father, or husband or wife, or son or daughter, or your one true friend. You love all of them, the whole person, and it’s worth it.
Don’t let them forget that- they are worth it.
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