It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to be sick.
My husband says these things often. Not because he is ok with me being in pain or being sick – he is reminding me that what I am feeling is real.
Even as I lie here this morning with severe muscle pain and feeling like I have a bad flu, my mind is focused on getting up and getting things done. So many things are waiting for my attention…groceries, laundry, bills. I want to make dinner for my family. There are projects all around me that I want to work on…Christmas gifts I want to make (yes, I know, it’s a bit early but I need to get started!), the back railing needs painting, there are landscaping projects I want to get done…the list is never ending.
And so I try to talk myself into getting up and making life happen. I am essentially trying to convince myself that I am not as sick as I think I am. The battle in my head goes something like this:
“Get up! There is much to do!”
“My legs hurt so much. My gut is so upset. I need to rest today.”
“You can rest later. Just try to get up!”
Giving in, I sit up and attempt to stand much too quickly. The pain in my feet is unbearable and a black cloud covers my eyes as I become dizzy. Sitting down on the edge of my bed I think “I can’t do this.”
“Yes you can! Get up!!”
Arising slowly, I think about the first thing I need to do…start a load of laundry.
I put clothes in a basket and as I pick it up, pain rolls across my body like a slow moving earthquake (if you’ve ever felt a quake like that, you know what I mean; the ground sort of moves slowly up and down under your feet).
“Don’t stop! If you stop, you won’t be able to start again!”
I take the basket to the washer and begin to transfer the clothing to the machine. Several pieces fall the floor and I grimace as I bend to pick them up, feeling a knife stabbing my lower back.
“You’ll get through this. Keep going!”
I start the washer and take a deep breath, realizing I’ve already expended every ounce of energy I have.
And I hear my husbands words: “It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to be sick.”
The laundry will wait. My family will help. And I know they understand. But somehow I feel incredible guilt that I am not able to do my part.
I never want to be in the mindset that I don’t need to get up. The things I want to do are not really as important as I try to convince myself they are, but I want to have purpose for getting out of bed. I want to be needed. I want to be a good wife and mother, a normal one.
But life is not normal. The pain is real. I am still very sick. Somehow there has to be balance between the life I want to have and the life I am actually capable of living.
For today: It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to be sick.
For tomorrow: Only God knows