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  • Writer's pictureLori Nanan

You'll Never Know.

Updated: Jun 17, 2023

You'll never know how alone he is.

You'll never know the darkness he overcomes almost daily. Darkness that could swallow other people whole.

You'll never know the relief I felt when he survived a heart attack, or the guilt of knowing I minimized it, chalked it up to heartburn and then raced to the hospital at 4:30 when I saw he had called at 2:30 in the morning so he knows he isn't alone. You'll never know the fear that comes with knowing he can't express himself well and that his health issues might not be addressed properly because of it.

You'll never know that he's always afraid. You'll never know that he manages diabetes, a damaged heart (literally and metaphorically *that part, thanks to you*), deep depression and uncertainty about almost everything. From what to eat, who he can trust, whether his crazy neighbor is going to start calling him names again and if he should share a house with Paul and I again because even while he knows that it will help him feel safer and less alone, it also means giving up some of his hard fought independence.

You'll never know how the little cuts he gets on his hands in the winter worry me because of his diabetes and that I have learned to accept that he will only take about 50% of my suggestions and the one to wear cotton gloves when he sleeps will never be taken. You'll never know that I keep showing up, even when it's so overwhelming I think I might break and that when it gets that bad, my husband steps up and in the ultimate expression of love for us both, clears a path for us all to be able to continue moving forward.

You'll never know about the late night trips to the ER and the early morning diagnostic tests. You'll never know that while I waited for him this morning, walking the hospital parking lot, full of worry and willing myself not to check Dr. Google for a diagnosis that I had a pleasant and amusing interaction with a stranger before the sun even came up. And that, because of that moment, I was able to greet him with a smile, a face far less worried, a mind more relaxed than I have had in weeks, when he came out of the lab. You'll never know the jokes we tell each other to calm our nerves, the stories we share of our pets, the music and movies we talk about, the meals we are planning that will keep us both healthy. You'll never know how sending him home with good food to eat makes me feel like he knows that I love him, that we love him.

You'll never know that he's probably fine this time, but the fear that he won't be, for any reason at all, almost consumes me at times. You'll never know that the only time I think about you is times like this, when my anger threatens to boil over. When I realize that your inability to parent your child, who though grown physically still needs to be parented mentally and emotionally, will never change. You probably do know that I'm the one who does that and yet, you've never tried to meet him where he is and have only ever made him feel worse about himself. You'll never know that I don't resent him for his needs, but I sure as hell resent you.

You'll also never know how fucking strong he is. How strong we are. How we both know that at the end of the day, we have each other's backs. That's more than we could ever say about you.

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