Dear younger self,
If I could send a letter back in time to tell you how far we’ve come I definitely would. Our childhood was plagued with lots of hospital visits and sleepless nights, but younger me, believe me when I say, it gets better.
I know it seems like you’re always ill and you don’t really understand why. The pain you feel in your arms and legs isn’t like the pain when you bang your arm or fall over, it’s stronger and lasts so much longer than a few minutes. Other kids don’t really understand what’s going on but they can see it on your face, you’re not your usual cheeky self. Mum has to come and get you from school again and you don’t really know how long it will be till you are back, it makes you sad because you actually love being at school. You love to read, learn new things and be with those your age. You can’t say the same when you are at the hospital. It’s cold, it’s lonely and you’re with strangers on the hospital ward. You wake up randomly in pain to roll over and see mum in an uncomfortable chair by your side. You can’t help but feel its your fault, she already works a lot and you don’t want to be more of a burden. You silently cry, not just because of the pain, but because you are tired of making things hard on mum, things are already difficult for her. Sometimes you wonder why you’re the one with all the problems, why you can’t be ‘normal’, if it gets any easier. You feel sad, isolated and angry at the world, no child should feel the way you do.
To my younger self, it does get easier, things get better and the hospital isn’t a second home. You begin to understand that you need to rest more, eat well and do what’s best for your body. It was hard to figure it out because we wanted to play and have fun like everyone else, saying no wasn’t in our nature. Eventually you realise its okay to say no if it’s not right for you. You go on to make great friends, some you’ve known for years, you have a wonderful relationship. A bae that understands you’re not always well and is there for you always (We worried about that didn’t we). You challenge yourself every year to complete tasks that you never really thought you could do. Last year we climbed the Atlas mountains, okay we kinda got a minor crisis but you managed it like you’ve learnt to do. Those hospital admissions are in the past, we haven’t been for 5 years. Mum doesn’t have sleepless nights worrying about you. Granny is in heaven now but we did her proud and continue to do so. You learnt, should I say we learnt, that we are strong enough to carry this burden and do whatever we put our mind to. We built a strong foundation, from the pain, tears, hopelessness and tribulations to build something that has transcended the shackles that held us back. We have our smile now, always. At the point of writing this letter, I know things will continue to be even better.
With love, your older self.