Some Reflections on a Typically Rough Week in My Life

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by Charlton Harris |

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Every year around this time, between Father’s Day and my June 24 birthday, I feel a little disconnected and withdrawn. I was raised by a single mom who served as my mother and father, so maybe I’m missing her more than usual. We used to celebrate my grandfather and my uncles on Father’s Day, but now they too have passed on.

Every year, I always seem to compare my fathering skills with theirs. Sometimes my skills are good; sometimes my fathering is more forgiving than what I was accustomed to. But nonetheless, I always feel that I can’t compare to those guys who helped shape me. By all accounts, I should be celebrating this week.

Eh. Maybe I’ll start feeling better soon.

The period does this to me. It makes me drift through my memories of this time, often having to do with my pulmonary sarcoidosis.

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In summer 2018, I experienced another spontaneous pneumothorax, which had me hospitalized for a few weeks. I was released about two days before Father’s Day, and I was planning to celebrate it with my family. I was feeling pretty good. However, later that week I was readmitted to the hospital.

That year, I spent my birthday in the hospital. Here’s another obstacle trying to beat down my spirit, I thought. After about a week or so, I returned home, where my family wanted to resume the celebrations, but I wasn’t able to enjoy them. I really wasn’t in the mood.

When I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, I didn’t let it dictate how I was going to live my life. I’ve always been a go-getter, the person who made things happen. Isn’t that what dads do? If that’s the case, then why am I feeling this way, as I do every year at this time?

Sometimes I think about my dad this time of year. Although he was absent most of my life, I could still reach out to him if I needed him. The benefit is that I know what it’s like having an absent father, so I make sure that I’m not absent from my kids’ lives. We all live together in one crazy household, and we get on one another’s nerves. That’s called unconditional love.

My role model growing up was my maternal grandfather. He was a big guy with big hands, and I wanted to be like him when I got older. I always remember him putting family first and himself last. For the most part, I take that approach. That’s probably why I have a hard time trying to put myself first. Maybe that’s why I’m uncomfortable this time of year.

On every Father’s Day I’m blessed to see, my family asks how I’d like to celebrate. I honestly can’t think of anything special that I’d like them to do for me. Maybe that’s part of the problem. As a dad, I always look for ways to solve problems or fix issues that suddenly spring up. It’s hard to think of something personal that I’d want because I feel like that’s being selfish. But is it?

I told my doctors and my family the one thing I didn’t want was to be a distraction or a burden, especially to my kids. They’re starting to come into their own, living their lives. Sometimes I feel guilty asking my kids to do some things for me because the dad in me kicks in. I hate bothering folks on my behalf. That’s one of the reasons I continue working out regularly at the gym. I have to keep fighting, for myself.

I guess it’s about time for me to start thinking about what makes me happy. Maybe that’ll be a fun-filled birthday on Friday. I guess now it’s time to realize that I don’t have all the answers and that I can’t solve all the problems, but I can allow myself to have more fun.

What I can do in spite of my illness is to continue to teach, inspire, and show my family unconditional love. Even if they can’t see it, they’ll know it’s always there.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.

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