I have come to realize that although we are all different, there is something that we all closely share. Something that we all experience at one point or another. And although it is likely that our circumstances will differ-it is inevitable that we will all go through this it at some point in our life. It is likely that we will all be confused by the way that it happens. Because at first, it happens in a way that causes us to deny the fact that something is going on or that something has changed. And once we finally accept the reality of things, it will continue to confuse us when we start to feel angry at the most unusual things. When we feel that our fuse is short and that we are taking it out on things that normally pass us by.
And after sometime, without even realizing it, we start to contemplate the what-ifs. The “what could I have done differently”? The please forgive me for my sins, can you make this go away now? Sort of way. And just when you think you are moving forward and starting to get a grip of this thing, you start to sink. In a less than pretty way.
You crawl into this dark, lonely and scary place.
And like quick sand – this place grabs a hold of you and pulls you in a little further each day. You are overcome with profound sadness and truly start to wonder if you will ever feel happy again.
You start waiting for tonight and then waiting for tomorrow.
Because perhaps, someday soon you will start to feel even the slightest bit of joy in your life once again. But one day, things start to change a little bit at a time. You start to realize all that you have endured over the past few weeks, or months, or years. You start to accept that life is different and it may never go back to the way it once was. And even in some ways, you are okay with that. You start to talk about it in a positive way and start to think about the future in a way that you haven’t imagined for a long time.
And then sometimes, you jerk backwards once again. You find yourself back in the hole, or angry at times. However, you don’t stay there as long. And you know that everything is going to be okay.
Grief. An unpredictable and personal journey. The moving forward then taking ten steps back sort of journey. One that cannot be put into words or actions. One that can make you act like a completely different person. An experience that causes you to let the phone ring and go to voicemail then wonder why someone isn’t by your side to carry you.
A situation that makes you contemplate your career path, your purpose and how much everybody around you actually loves you. A feeling in which, you know that exercise is the best thing for you, but it feels next to impossible to make that happen. When you fear waking up in the morning because you don’t know how you are going to feel as you open your eyes.
The heaviness in your chest, the ball in your throat, the avoidance of the outside world kind of feeling. The inevitable roller-coaster that life forces us to take.
It has taken me quite some time to realize that I am going through the grieving process myself. Because for the longest time, I have associated grief with death or the loss of a loved one. I have classified myself as not being strong enough to handle these drastic changes that have entered my path. In fact, every time that somebody says, you are so strong, I think to myself – if only they knew.
I have truly come to believe that my anxiety about this tumor has led to depression and that the only way to move forward will be to get this thing out of my head. I have thought to myself, that I will be happy once I get my surgery date because I will be closer to the road to recovery and things will go back to normal soon thereafter.
However, this thought is not accurate at all. Having a surgery date will not change everything that has happened over the past few months. It will not change the fact that my life and my routine has been greatly impacted. It will not change the fact that I am not working my dream job that I worked so hard to obtain. It will not change the fact that I am losing my hearing, I am losing my balance, I have double vision, nausea and severe pressure filled headaches. It will not change the fact that I have lost my sense of humor, sense of fulfillment, and sense of motivation. And although I will adapt to my new normal, I am grieving the loss of the way my life used to be. I am upset that I am 30 and planning my life around brain surgery not a wedding or having a baby anytime soon. I miss my old routine. The meal prep on Sundays, the waking up at 5 am and rushing off to work. The planning of a holiday, the fitness classes that I once knew and loved. And although this tumor is not terminal, I am going through significant life changes.
I am finally at the point of acknowledging that this is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. Is this a sign that complete acceptance is close in reach? Some days I honestly feel content with this experience. And other days I bounce right back into the realm of darkness. I am somewhere in between depression and acceptance – and that’s okay. I do not to fight it, nor force it – rather, take it day by day. And although I am not an expert – in fact far from, I am sharing my experience because I believe that many people will be able to relate.
Perhaps somebody will find comfort in knowing that it is okay to go back and forth in the stages of grief. And maybe others will know that it is okay grieve experiences that aren’t related to death. Perhaps you have lost your job, or your house, your relationship or a friendship. Whatever the case may be, big or small, it is okay to grieve something that meant so much to you at some point in time. And although it takes a while to get there, with some hiccups in between – something positive will come out of this. I know that I am more self-aware than I have ever been before. I know that I can look at life in a whole new way. I have even found some new hobbies that have brought me great joy. Hold on. Keep going. Feel every emotion you are experiencing and know that things will get better some day soon.