Who Am I Going On For Today?

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The first question I always get asked when people get to know me is "What is Lupus?" The second question I get asked after I explain myself is "How do you go on?" How do I go on? It's a question I ask myself every single day that I live here on this earth. How am I supposed to go on when my body feels like it cannot? How do I manage to live another day when my heart says "It's not worth it." I will tell you a little secret, I don't live for myself.

I don't choose to go on every single day for myself. On my bad days when I can't out of bed, when all I can do is watch TV and whimper to myself, I don't want to be here. I am not an active participant in life. On the nights when I am alone, so exhausted I can't sleep, in so much pain the thought of switching sides seems impossible. I sometimes wish I were dead. But on those days and nights when I feel I cannot go on, I think about you. I think about my Mom, my best friends, my Twitter followers, and complete strangers. I think about a person and I hold their love in my heart. The love allows me to carry on through the pain, the exhaustion, and the cruelty of my illness.

Today is the six year anniversary of my Grandpa's death. On Wednesday, April 28th, 2004, he passed away from diabetes complications, gastric paresis, and pneumonia. He was sick for a good two years but I always felt in my heart that he would pull through. He never did. But before he got sick, he could never express to me enough how proud he was of me. My Grandpa put me on a pedestal that in his eyes, no one else could reach. I remember sitting at dinner with him and his friends, every other sentence out of his mouth would be a compliment about me. I think that man loved me more than he loved himself. At the time I was able to make all of his hopes and dreams for me come true.

Sadly, life for me has not turned out in the way he would have wanted for me. I am not in the military. I am not protecting our country in the same way that he did. I don't wake up in the morning and put on a uniform like he did for so many years of his life. I do know that my Grandpa would be so very proud of me if he could see me today. I may not be the cookie cutter image of what he wanted me to be, but I am me. I am living today. If for nothing else, he would be proud of me for living. When the odds are stacked against me, I choose to go on even if it is for others.

If my Grandpa were here today, he would be sitting with his friends at dinner and he would say "My granddaughter Erika, she goes on no matter what. She stands tall when her illness tells her she can't. She lives when doctors tell her she won't. She never fails to make me proud." I know in my heart that is exactly what he would say.

So in honor of his life, on April 28th, 2010, I am choosing to go on for my Grandpa. He is the one who taught me how to be strong, to go after my goals. Trying to go on every day is my goal and it takes more strength than you can imagine. Thank you Grandpa for instilling those characteristics in me. I always carry your love in my heart. My soul never forgets you. I will forever miss you, Grandpa.



Sugar-Snit said...

Beautiful. Yes- Grandpa would be proud of you for sure. In fact, I know he IS proud of you. No know CHOOSES this life.

This post made me tear up... we had this twitter chat the other day - about love... and I tried to explain how I have no HOPE of "romantic love" but I just try to BE LOVING to people...

I don't have many friends anymore-- mostly b/c I don't go out as often - so it's HARD to maintain REAL LIFE friends... but the ones who I do have - I try to keep on loving.. the ones who keep by my side-- I love as much as possible... and now my lupie tweeps - I'm holding you in my heart b/c YOU KNOW what life is like. And all my life I NEVER THOUGHT I would find a group of women who understood what it was like to live like this.

<3 you sassy.
Thanks for writing this.

Anonymous said...

The love your grandpa seeded in you is a powerful love that will empower you all the way through your life with lupus.

What a beautiful gift. That's the one thing lupus will never be able to take from us and love is the most important aspect of our lives. Love is eternal.

Love : )