An uncommon gift

Rare disease patients often have little in common but their disease.
We speak different languages.
We are of different races.
We live in different countries.
We have different families.
We have different ages
And politics
And religions.
We laugh differently
And love differently
And cry differently
But when you are in the moment, it all feels the same.
And because we are so different
We might never have been friends otherwise
But that doesn’t matter
Because we are.
And sometimes our differences make our friendships messy.
And sometimes our closeness despite our differences feels like cheating
Like getting a gift in celebration of something
We shouldn’t be celebrating.

Today I visited a dear friend
Who was a gift from this disease
And I sat with her
And rubbed her hands
And told funny stories
And reminisced
About the hard days
Before the hardest days came.
And thought to myself
That I will never be able to put this feeling into words.
To put this connection
Into words.
To describe
How one day
A long time ago
This woman told me about her son
And that she was scared
And when she did
The fear in my heart saw hers
But it saw the courage too
And hearts are always more courageous
When they don’t beat alone.
I will never be able to put into words
What happened inside me
When she lost her voice
And things seemed hopeless
And she was scared
And I was scared
But my heart mustered some courage
So that her heart would see it.
And we don’t know what will happen
But the only way to overcome these hardest days
Is by opening our eyes
Even when we don’t want to
And laughing
Even when it makes it hard to breathe
And remembering
Even when it twists your insides
To know
That none of us saw this coming
And that we are scared
That we won’t overcome this.

But we are part of this world
A world that gave us
Sunshine
And warm breezes
And the night sky.
That gave us
Swimming
And family
And friends
To remind us
That there is good here.
That gave us
Terror and pain
So that we would understand joy
Desperation
So that would know peace.
This disease
So that we could find each other.
These hardest days
So that we can overcome
And so that nothing
Will ever
Seem hard
Again.