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Hold on for dear life...
Where Emma discusses grief and loss of a loved one.
Thank you for all the condolences, I am deeply touched.
Outside my father in law’s house this morning I tried looking for some meaning in the last week - his death, the organisational maelstrom and the funeral haven’t allowed any time for reflection.
As the dog chased her ball I envied her obliviousness, her simple pleasure in a simple act. She leapt and emptily snapped her jaws as the ball skittered away and she wagged happily in pursuit, returning triumphant - asking for repetition. Again and again, I threw the ball for her and every time she found joy, pleasure and contentment from the action.
Grief knocks us sideways, winding us so we forget to breathe. Loss takes pleasure from the mundane as we can only see through the lens of what is missing. It will take time to feel more at ease with this pain and I know our emotions will bounce us around like poor suspension as we look for a normal which can no longer exist.
When you are diagnosed with a disease like Parkinson’s it is akin to the grieving process. Certainly, I experienced relief initially as I finally had answers as to why my body felt like it was run by a semi-sentient radio signal.
But the grief crept upon me. The trouble is that as Parkinson’s reveals more of itself I find myself repeating some of the grief stages. It’s tricksy. Just as you feel you are managing the symptoms of one thing something new and fun pops up and you are back to stage one.
Currently, I alternate between the acceptance and bargaining phases, with a big dash of fuck this shit.
I suppose the strangest part is that it’s not the obvious that I grieve for…
Don’t get me wrong it’s frustrating not being able to do up buttons or walk in a straight line and I hate the pain. But for me, the loss of my potential and my future life is what irks me the most.
And by irks I mean I want to set fire to the whole goddam world. Some days.
But grief isn’t a constant. We can’t fix that emotional state in place…thankfully.
So, many days I don’t even think about anger or bargaining or loss or the denial which often defines my relationship with Parkinson’s. But just as the death of a loved one can seem ok one minute and the next the agony is tearing at your throat, choking and throwing you into loneliness and despair. The fear and terror of the disease can grab you when are least expecting it.
It’s three years since my diagnosis and I am only now beginning to find little things to sidestep the worst of the grief. I don’t think grief leaves you but you become adept at smoothing the edges. Small actions that serve as distractions initially become rituals that help anchor the positive feelings.
My father in law was a great inspiration and example of how to manage life, especially the challenging internal emotional landscape. He made conscious choices and put many strategies in place to navigate his own difficulties. I have been privileged to witness these he has shown me how to be courageous in the face of loss and change.
I would love to know if you felt grief and loss when you were diagnosed with something? Pop a reply to this email :)
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
~ Thomas Campbell