Sometimes it's hard to be honest. It's hard to face the music, especially if that music is pain, and it's on repeat. Maybe you wake up to the music. Maybe you've been listening to the same song for many years, and it's growing louder each day. It's the song of pain or sickness or disease.
Perhaps it's been your song for so long, that you barely hear it anymore. Or worse, your primary loved one (your spouse, or parent) doesn't hear it either. No one would blame your caregiver or even you for tuning it out.
But pain is always harder to deal with alone. That's just the way it is.
I challenge you to be honest about your pain; about needing help; about craving fresh empathy. Perhaps you need to sit down with your partner and tell them, that their most needed attribute is their presence; their listening ears. They need to hear your story, your sickness, or what you're dealing with in this current moment one more time, but with fresh ears and awareness.
It's hard to need someone this much. It's easier to numb or deny pain. But it's also difficult to keep going through pain if you're pretending not to be.
Invite your partner into your pain. Give them specific ways they can love and encourage you. Give them specific phrases or words that will cue them to becoming present. For instance, "Babe, I need to borrow your heart and ears for a moment..." That's a specific ask, and it will help them tune in to your needs right there in the moment. Obviously, if it's not a good time for them, give them the grace to give you a later window of time where they can give you their full attention. Maybe they need to call you back in fifteen minutes or an hour. Providing a verbal cue will help them know how to love and help you.
If you are a man trying to help your sick woman...a word of advice: Most of the time she doesn't need you to "fix" it. She simply needs your presence. I'm not talking passive, kinda-there presence. I'm talking undivided attention, where you are communicating compassion and care from the top of your head to your eyes to the tips of your toes. That kind of presence will be so meaningful to your woman. And it allows her to unload some of her pain on your strong, capable shoulders.
Shared pain is always half as painful.
So wherever you are in your healing journey, I encourage you to pursue honesty. Ask for what you need. Ask kindly. Be specific. The people who love you won't mind one bit. They will be honored to know just how they can care for you in a more intentional way.