“If I cancel plans
It's because I physically can't go.
A nuisance, yes
but a necessity nonetheless I do hope you know.
If I didn't want to go
I simply wouldn't make the plans.
I wouldn't think this would be so hard for anybody to understand.
I empathise with your frustration
believe me I feel it too
there's nowhere I'd rather be
than on an adventure with you.
But sometimes...ok, many times
my body screams no
If I don't listen
that's like pouring oil
on an already slippery slope.
So please accept
my sincere apologies
but to make this easier for both of us you have to believe.
I don't have a better option
I've not heartlessly bailed
every time I have to explain this
I feel like I've failed.
So know that when I'm ready I'll be with you of course
I hope you see my heart
It's not code
It's not morse.
Please go and have fun
I'll sit her an breathe
releasing the guilt that is clawing at me
This isn't my fault
or my desire
if I ignore my body
pain will engulf me like wild fire.” H.J.Anderson
I cannot begin to explain the importance of empathy in the face of adversity. No one expects their friends or family to truly understand how they feel. Ultimately, the person going through it first hand barely understands how they are going to feel from moment to moment, so they know wholeheartedly how confusing it can be to the outside world and especially to those in their close circle.
That being said, if a loved one in your life is going through something you've never experienced be it chronic illness, cancer, grief, redundancy, domestic abuse, fertility struggles, miscarriage, depression, anxiety, addiction, divorce - the list could go on and on - kindness and empathy are so incredibly important.
If someone has to see how they feel on the day before they can truly commit to plans - granted, you might not know their struggle - but at the very least you should know their heart. If they cancel it will never be because they don't want to spend time with you, remember that and respond with kindness. Even better, make plans with three or more people so if one person going through it can't make it, the rest of you can still enjoy whatever it was you were looking forward to. Taking the pressure off the person who is already in an unthinkably tricky predicament and offering them your empathy can make such a vital and empowering difference to someone's healing endeavours. Just by reacting and responding with love and compassion you could make someone's day, week, month better in ways you never thought were possible.
If someone in your life is going through it, you don't need to 'fix' it for them or compromise your own happiness in any way, but being a source of light and laughter through the temporary darkness is one of the most wonderful, selfless things you can do for someone. No ones position of privilege in life is concrete and you never know when you'll need that unwavering support to help keep you afloat.
Look out for one another in whatever small ways you can.