Good morning and happy Friday!
I received very disturbing news this past weekend. A family member of mine has been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer; inoperable. He has been given two to four months to live, if that. And as I try to remain hopeful and positive thanks to modern science and medicine, I am grieving. He’s not even dead, and I mourn. So I looked it up last night…and it’s called Anticipatory Grief.
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
These are the usual five stages of grief, and they are also the stages of anticipatory grief. They can come in any order. They can float back and forth and repeat themselves. My mind wanders from memory to memory, each bringing laughter or tears. Then I’m hit with other realizations: who is next: how much time do I have left with friends and family before they, too, are swept away? And my priorities change. Rather than fill my days with Netflix, videogames, or naps, I want to flood my hours with time with family and friends. I feel guilty for all of the missed time…I beat myself up for not making more opportunities, driving out to visit, or just picking up the damn phone.
And the cycle begins anew. More memories, more tears, more guilt.
I’m driving out this weekend to be with family, to visit my Uncle, and to try not to cry in front of him…In fact, by the time you’re reading this, I’m several hours into my drive already (thank goodness for being able to schedule a post…)
But, while reading about Anticipatory Grief, and feeling far more normal now that I knew it was a thing…I drew comparisons to being diagnosed with an incurable, chronic illness: the maelstrom of emotions and stages, the lack of control, the shift in priorities. And it led me on the search for a quote to share with you.
And I found this one.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
― Anne Lamott
And I shall hold onto it, dearly. In fact, I will embrace it. Twenty-one years ago I lost my grandparents. They died two days apart from each other; we like to think they could not bear to be apart. But the void created by their deaths has never been filled in my heart. And now I know why: because “they live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up.” And I think of them all of the time. And the same shall be true for my Uncle, whenever his time may be.
And when my Endo flares back up and rears it’s ugly head, may I hold my head up high and dance with a limp.
And I hope that you, too, may accept the loss you face (whether it be a death, or a disease, or a disappointment), heal, and dance with a limp.
But dance we shall.
Love you guys. Lisa