Chronic illness and grief. Something nobody talks about and yet something so many people are dealing with. I’m dealing with. And I can be in any of the five stages of grief on any given day. Most days I’m in the acceptance category – I know what’s wrong, I’m attacking it head on and know what I need to do to manage this. I’m in control and doing great. Other days/moments/weeks, I may fluctuate between anger and sadness. I hate this illness. I hate what it has done to my body. I hate the relapses. I hate not knowing when I’m going to have a relapse. I hate not being in control… Why me? Why? Why would God allow this? Am I being punished? Are all of us in our various forms of suffering being punished? What is the purpose? What is the message in all of this? It’s not fair, I don’t understand and I am angry. I lost my ability to pray. I just can’t. I feel broken. And weak. And ashamed. Having a chronic illness is lonely and frightening. I mean who do you talk to when struggling with a chronic illness? Who? Who will really understand? What can anyone say to make me feel better anyway? And, really, this is my battle and mine alone. Something I have to fight on my own. At least that’s how I feel sometimes. I push myself. Hard. Probably harder than I should to be normal. To feel normal. To keep up. Other than my close family and friends, nobody really knows the physical or emotional pain I experience on any given day because I’m good at “faking it.” I’m a pro. We are all pros at this because we want so much to have our lives back. Because there is a sort of shame in having an illness that is invisible to the outside world. And so I share my story. Because I know I’m not alone. Because in the midst of my grief, I feel this need to help others. And maybe that’s the purpose. MY purpose. I don’t know. But there has to be something to all of this. So I will share my story. If I can help even one person, then maybe I also help myself.