“She makes broken look beautiful and strong look invinsible. She walks through the world with the Universe on her shoulders and makes it look like a pair of wings.”
Growing up I never had a “family” so to speak. Most of my memories are with my dad and La La (my grandmother.) My entire life I dreamed of having a sister to talk to, cry to, fight with, and just know that there would be a person who would not abandon me. I met my sister Lindsay a year before my bike accident. She was around eleven and I was around twelve years of age. We met in an acting class and instantly bonded. We were both free spirits, we both had childhoods that hurt us deeply yet neither of us talked about those demons back then, and we loved to laugh. The summer after I met her and her brother Scott whom is family as well is when I had my bike accident which as you know resulted in brain surgery. Hours after my fall we learned I needed to have immediate brain surgery and the clock was ticking. My dad called Lindsay and Scott after calling my Mom. Lindsay was with me throughout my recovery of brain surgery (the easiest part of my journey with chronic pain) and she has been there since: through the ups and downs we have both faced. Neither of us judge one another nor anyone for that matter. Neither of us really care what people think of us because we do not know how to be anyone but who we are: silly, outspoken at times, “crazy” some may say, outgoing, talkative, embarrassing to those around us, and filled with love. You never know how much you love someone until their pain seriously breaks your heart. I will not go into details about my closest friend in the world but she has faced a lot of tragedies in her lifetime and recently has faced one of the worst. She lives all the way in California (could you have moved any further, seriously) and to not be able to hug her and comfort her in person is very difficult. Now I know how she feels/felt when I was going through hell and sobbed daily on the phone to her. It is awful. No one understands us the way we understand one another because neither of us know anyone who has faced our battles; not only faced but gone through with one another. Some of my best memories are with Lindsay and Scott and Lindsay is the one of the few people in this world that I know will never abandon me. I do not trust many people because in my life as a child and adult the people I let into my heart leave. This is an issue I work on daily. With all the crap I have put Lindsay through in the past twenty years it is quite clear she will never leave me. I am unable to call her a friend, she really is my family as is Scott and her Mom whom I wish was my own. My three-year old calls her Nana Joan and asks to see her often now. The above quote written by Ariana is true but also funny: when I told Kayci (my three-year old going on thirteen) Aunt Linny would be flying home soon, she looked at me with the eyes of Forrest Gump and said: “Aunt Linny has wings? That’s awesome Mommy.” I was crying at the time because my sister is hurting and there is nothing I can do but I laughed because Kayci is just hysterical. Now reading this quote I realize how intuitive my three-year old is: Lindsay is using an airplane to travel clearly, but she does have wings. She has a strength that I’m not sure any human could possibly have. I am very strong but my God my sister has a strength that has given her wings and I admire her more than she will ever know. The fact that tears are rolling down my face as I write this is a little shocking. I only really cry when writing when I am writing about my own journey with my invisible illness. I wish she could see what I see in her: an angel with wings.
My story and why I write is to help those with chronic pain learn that they too can survive this invisible illness without a cure. However, Lindsay may not have chronic pain but that does not make her invisible pain any less than ours. She is one of the most beautiful, liked, intelligent, hard working, loving people one could meet and no one would guess the demons she has to face on a daily basis just as many of you face. Invisible illness is certainly not limited to physical pain: many of us are in pain but our outer shells and how we live our lives do not share our wounds and scars. Two people told me on my birthday: June 7th 2013 that I should begin writing my story as I have always wanted to be a writer and through ten plus years of literal hell I learned how to live a happy life despite chronic pain. Lindsay saw something in me that I was not able to see just as I see in her what she too often forgets.
My sister, my best friend, my hero takes up a huge part of my heart and I just want everyone to know that we really need to stop the judgement of others. You really have NO idea the battles most of us are facing behind shut eyes and closed doors. I love you Lindsay. I love you Scott. I love you, Nana Joan. I may not have the “family” I dreamed of as a child (not referring to the family I created) but Lindsay is my family. She is the strongest woman I know and I am the luckiest girl to be able to have someone like her love me as she does.