You’re an ugly, real disease that kills silently. It takes time for you to do your dirty work. But untreated, you eventually win, robbing sons of mothers, mothers of daughters, brothers of sisters, nieces of aunts, grandchildren of grandmothers.
But lest those around you hide in shame, there is no shame for those caught in your deathly grip for it is strong and your lies insidious. The only shame comes when we mask the truth, letting you not only ruin lives but also wrongly steal the dignity of those individuals stricken with your illness. This disease is no better or worse than breast cancer, or heart failure or pneumonia. Those who fall prey are not weak or morally deficient. But they often die alone, isolated and untreated because we confuse choice or willpower with your overwhelming, cunning, baffling and powerful grip. Or worse, we hide the truth of your reality out of fear or shame when that only gives more power to this disease, increasing the risk that others fall prey to your lies.
It’s sad when we lose someone to you because they went untreated, but that should not translate to shame or self-pity. We should be angry at your lies, and redouble our efforts to educate, protect, treat and encourage those at risk.
Yes, I’m an angry son – sad but not ashamed that his mom lost her battle to this crazy disease.
I love you mom. I wish we could have done more to help you in your pain.