They’re tough, because they’re used to being scared and uncomfortable and in pain. But that can be tricky. They’ve learned how to fend for themselves, so sometimes, it might take them a little while to learn how to let you take care of them too.
They’re fighters, they’re survivors, because this disease doesn’t have a cure. There’s no specific path that works for everyone. There’s no single answer. So they’ve learned how to figure this thing out for themselves – how to find the perfect balance in their treatment that allows them to live a life as close to normal as possible.
There were probably time periods in their life which they were very okay. Sometimes periods of wellness that even lasted for years. But there’s also been times where their health has been taken away from them. They’ve learned to fight for it. They’ve learned to fight for health and happiness and whatever else will allow them to feel joy in their lives. Often, that includes love. They will fight for you, if you make them feel good and light and carefree and beautiful and joyful and healthy and all the other things that they don’t feel in the dark moments where the flare-ups are uncontrollable and their stomachs hurt and they’re afraid of food and they’re afraid to leave the house.
Those dark moments really are quite dark sometimes. Painful and frustrating. Sometimes, they won’t feel like fighters. They will feel weak or sad or angry or afraid of their own bodies. They will try to avoid pity parties and meltdowns, because they know deep down that that will only push them back further. But sometimes, they will not be able to help it, because they are weak and tired and human and they are angry about the bodies they’ve been given.
Sometimes there will be nothing you can do to help. You will see them in pain, and you will want to fix it. You will want to take it for them – to get rid of their abdominal cramps or their long days of upset stomachs or the sharp pain that jabs into their sides and wakes them in the middle of the night. But you can’t. You will not be able to fix it. You cannot fix their bodies.
What you can do is hold them. Brush your fingers through their hair. Soothe their nerves. Remind them that they are not alone. Sometimes, the hardest part about this all is the isolation. The endless time in the bathroom. The desire to hide the illness from others. The anxiety and the shame. The frequent need to turn down trips or social outings or fun evenings at a restaurant, because their stomach can’t handle it and all they can manage to do is lie in their bed for hours, trying to sleep through the pain and hoping that tomorrow will be better.
They feel so alone a lot from it all. That’s often harder than the cramping and the urgency and the pain and the worry. It’s the fact that they feel like their burden is invisible and nobody can understand it. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is to remind them that they are anything but alone.
There will be beautiful days, though, too. Days where they appreciate the sun and the warmth and the joy of being outside more than most people, because they are so happy to be up and about and feeling strong and alive. They love the sun, they love the beautiful days. But they don’t need them to appreciate the beauty of life. They’re not put off by rainy days or cold winds or dark clouds, because nothing’s darker than having to waste the day in a bathroom or their bed or the hospital, wondering when they will be able to go out and experience the world again. The don’t need a beautiful day to realize it’s a beautiful day. And you will be the person they want to share it with.
They’ve already seen themselves in their darker moments, and they know how to appreciate the thrill of living. The thrill of experiencing the world. The thrill of falling in love with you.
They will love you fiercely. They will laugh with you always. They will appreciate you and be grateful for you, because they understand how precious happiness is.
They will love to love you. But there were also be ugly moments. They will go through a lot of ups and downs and there will be lots of fears and uncertainties. They will have other issues that sometimes come along with Crohn’s. Like anxiety. Constant exhaustion. Depression. Arthritic pain. Issues with various foods. A weak immune system.
It’s an ongoing disease, it’s an ongoing fight. They’re strong, but sometimes this disease sucks out so much strength that they will have moments of fragility in which they will need you more than you could ever imagine. They don’t need you to heal them or fix them or take care of their problems.
They don’t want you to pity them or feel bad for them or baby them or let them get away with things.
All the want is you, holding them in both the beautiful and the ugly moments, reminding them how wonderful it is to be alive and reminding them that they are not alone. Because when you’re with them, it will help them to believe that tomorrow will be a beautiful day. That’s all they need.