I’m writing this Question of the Week as much for myself as for the HealthCentral MS community. The last few months have been difficult ones for my family and me. We lost a loved one to an illness with no cure. Pancreatic cancer is insidious and unyielding. It wreaks havoc on the body over a short amount of time. We look to celebrities like Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze who, once diagnosed, chose death as they chose life: on their own terms. It was the same in our family, and we respected and supported this choice with the dignity and grace in which it was chosen. There were no regrets, and the life lived will be celebrated and cherished, always.
They say there are five stages of normal grief, which were first introduced by Elisabeth Kubler–Ross in her book On Death and Dying. These stages can be from the loss of a person or pet, or from a diagnosis or illness. The five stages are denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Ross’s hypothesis stated that not everyone experiences grief in the same manner or order, and these atages are as unique to each other as the people who experience them.
We, the community of people with MS, are familiar with loss. Loss of a different sort, but still loss all the same. We are unable to run alongside our children at play, or take a jog in the park. We suffer in silence looking well yet unable to still the sadness or depression in our hearts. We come in all shapes and sizes, and our MS manifests itself differently in each one of us. No two of us are alike; no two of us experience loss in the same way.
It is important to remember that life is a gift. It should be nurtured and cherished every day from the time we wake up until the time we go to sleep. Whatever loss we feel for ourselves we should spend time to acknowledge that loss, and do our best to move on toward acceptance in whatever way possible (either with therapy, books, talking with friends and family). It is in that acceptance that we begin anew – not quite the same as we were prior to our diagnosis – but still anew and prepared to face life’s challenges with what are bodies are able to do.
My Question of the Week is how do you deal with loss, and how do you move toward and past acceptance? I’d love to hear what you have to say!