Recently I have reconnected with some old friends and I’ve been reflecting on how we tell our stories. How do you sum up your life for the past twenty years? If illness has dominated, it sounds rather dreary to say “Yeah, since we last saw each other I’ve spent most of my time in hospitals. How are you?”
As I compose the emails to these friends I realize that I have instinctively tried to to summarize what my illness has meant to me. Not the gory details, but how it has shaped my life – both good and bad.
Similarly, when I first tell new acquaintances about my illness, I’m less inclined to give lots of detail. Frankly, I’m bored with the details, but I’m constantly exploring what it means to live with a disease and how it shapes a life (at least my life).
How do we construct our lives when major illness influences every aspect of what we do? How do we then construct the story of that life to share with others?
Creative expression gives many people a way to tell their story in a way that can capture, at a visceral level, what the illness has meant to them. I’m honoured that so many people have chosen to share their stories through this blog and if you are newer to the site, I encourage you to go back and look at the archives.
Looking forward to many future stories.