Lessons Learned from Loss

Lessons Learned from Loss
I met Serena Lawrence online. That's how life is lived today. I had requested writer's guidelines from Fibromyalgia News Today in the hopes of submitting a column I'd written. Instead, after reviewing my proposed column, Serena invited me to become a weekly contributor. Thus began a year-long relationship with her as my columns editor — a person I counted on to be there to answer a question, solve an issue, or refer me to someone who could. At no time did it occur to me that she was anything other than as healthy as she was efficient. It was only after her passing last week that I learned of her long-term battle with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Serena's passing has had a surprising impact on me. I've begun to reflect upon all the people I encounter on a daily basis — whether in person, on the telephone, or online. How many of them I assume to be healthy and happy are facing battles far more serious than my own? As fibromyalgia patients, we know the truth about hidden illness. Many of us work with unrelenting pain and fatigue, smiling bravely as we wait for 5 p.m. to come each day. We learn to endure the phrase, "But you look so healthy!" This well-intended comment is most difficult to hear when our symptoms are at their peak. Even with that daily experience, I must honestly say that I'd never considered what medical conditions might lie behind the smiling faces around me. Serena's passing has given me a new perspective. No longer will I assume that because people are doing a job, earning a living, looking and acting "healthy," that they are what they appear to be. After all, I'm not. For most of my life, I wasn't. Few people are aware of my inner struggle. However, I've been fortunate to have encountered mostly patience and understanding with whate
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.

One comment

  1. Kaye Nutman says:

    What a beautifully poignant piece of writing, Christine. It brings home something I found out for myself when dealing with fibromyalgia/chronic pain and volunteering in a day oncology wig room – that there are many invisible illnesses out there and many have worse consequences than mine. I think everyone is guilty of making assumptions on what they see as a healthy, smiling person. This is a gentle reminder to us all to look around and really see people and their unspoken troubles, and ask ourselves if there is something we can do. just being friendly to someone can make their day. I am sad for you that you have lost someone who must have become a good friend, and the potential to make your life (and Serena’s) richer. You have lost a small part of your future, but are all the richer for having known her.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *