They're inextricably linked, aren't they?
My pain is intensely horrific. I bleed from the inside, where nobody sees, into my muscles and joints and tendons. I bleed into my neck and my skull, into my shoulders and my back, and even into my knees. All of the tender points, they hold toxic blood in me.
Nothing stops it, really. There are days or hours or moments where the toxicity lessens, or laughter makes it lighter, but it never really goes away. It flows through my eyes in the form of salty tears that fall and cover my skin. The saltiness makes me think of Danielle and Sarah, and the kisses I would bestow upon their tiny brows when they were little; the salty taste of cystic fibrosis left on my lips, reminding me of their delicacy and strength. Pictures of them now, nearly adults, documenting the delicacy of life, even among the strong. In a moment it's snuffed out, like a candle. I never believed that when I would cradle them in my arms.
My life hurts. My kids, who I fail, my husband who long ago stopped being involved with me; my job, which challenges me to teach when I can hardly rise from my bed. My parents, who insist there is value in the broken and bruised.
If I disappeared?
How would life change?
It would go on, the conversations continuing; another lecturer to teach what I used to; another woman to comfort my children and other friends to pick up wherever I left off. I want to be alone. Alone. Away from all of you. By myself, alone.
I hate myself.