Is fighting the constant nagging voice telling me my loved ones would be better off without me brave? Is fighting the uphill battle of a stroke survivor brave? Is having surgery on my ailing body brave? There are the loudest voices telling me that having to help me in every way is selfish. And less than they deserve. Heaping financial and emotional burdens on my mom seems the most cowardly. I honestly believe that I'm being selfish, not just by finally putting myself and my health first, but by making those in my life compensate for my short comings just by virtue of staying close to me. Everyday I feel a mounting, a growing desperation to let them off the hook and just stop fighting. I feel like my life is only punishing my loved ones, they have to do so much more just to hang out or spend time with me. What is brave? Is brave letting everyone off the hook? Is brave doing the only thing I really know how to do (fight my current reality and earn back my independence)? Is brave faking strength? Is it in lowering the quality of life of those closest to me? It feels like my survival, my fight, my journey is doing the opposite of all that I've ever wanted to do; help and make everyone's life a little brighter, a little more love filled daily.