I belong to a book club. We meet every month or so. Sometimes we read and discuss books, and sometimes we talk about ourselves instead. It's good to get together with people and chat about our lives. We have different experiences, but the sharing of those differences gives us community.
One of the members recently offered to have the club meet nearer to my house. It was a kindness. It was a recognition that the long drive to town (an hour round-trip) is often too much for me to do. It made me feel valued and wanted.
If you have a friend with a chronic illness (invisible or visible), the smallest kindnesses can make them feel human, loved, and validated.
The offer of a chair or sitting with me can make the difference between me being able to stay and participate or needing to leave.
Thinking about the food being brought to a get-together or the restaurant being chosen. Is there an item on the menu they can eat?
Are there stairs where you are going? Is the elevator convenient or even an option? Take the elevator with them. Having to take the elevator alone sucks.
Try to meet earlier in the day. It's incredibly hard for the chronically-ill to stay out late, and driving at night is one of our least favorite things to do. Offer to give them a ride to and from the event, but be willing to leave if they need to go early or unexpectedly.
My husband is the only form of adult conversation that I might have for days. Being ill can make for loneliness. Getting an email from a friend will make my day.
Kindness is simple. Kindness is aware. Kindness is open.
If you have a chronic illness, remember to be kind to yourself. Do you model kindness for others in how you treat yourself or do you model shame and impatience?
Thank you to all of my readers who have left kind comments! They give me community and help me to know that my voice is heard.