Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dealing with Loss

The theme for this section of school is Dealing with Loss and Palliative Care. Yeah. The topic is heavy. I just finished writing two papers that are due this week.

My Fall Sunset photo just seems to go with the theme.
We watched a movie in class that I blogged about last year, the Bucket List . We were challenged to create our own bucket list with a minimum of 15 items that we want to do, achieve or experience and explain why.  I apparently have a lot of things I want to do and even more of places I want to go. This assignment was fun for me and I just took a very casual style in writing it up, I kept adding web links  to show exactly where I want to travel to. I'm not sure what the teacher will think of web links scattered throughout my printed paper but it made me happy to write it that way.

The next one was much harder. We had to write about our personal experiences with the stages of grief.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book called On Death and Dying (New York: McMillan Publishing Company, 1969), presented a theory that people experience five different stages during the grieving process. The stages she suggested are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. These stages are understood to occur at different speeds and in different orders and in fact a person might jump back and forth between these stages. The study was originally reflecting the experiences of the dying person and was revolutionary in its time. Common culture is now accepting that these stages are also seen in others who experience great loss be it the death of a loved one or other crisis; profound loss is expressed by the intense emotion of grief.

I could have written about the death of  one of my parents or even a large event that I was at where a tragic accident occurred but I decided the best thing for me would be to work through the experience of my illness and brain injury. Not an easy choice especially with marks attached. I swing rapidly back and forth between "the stages" on any given day.

  •  Denial? I'm kind of thinking I was in denial when I decided I needed to go back to college.
  • Anger? You bet. I just have to think about the hospital I was at. Just have to look at my cane. 
  • Bargaining? Well maybe. Do you think if I just went up and down the stairs at school 500 more times I would get fitter and I would stop needing to depend on the elevator?
  • Depression? Been there a lot and my social worker and meditation were very helpful in the first years. Time and physical recovery have helped.  There are still bad days though. Christmas was very hard.
  • Acceptance? Okay yes sometimes  I accept the situation, because truth be told I am doing spectacularly well.  But then... something goes wrong. I drop a cup that I picked up with my left hand or I have trouble getting the laundry basket down the stairs. (This morning I got frustrated and just kicked my clothes loose down the stairs toward the washing machine). I get a bad headache and my first response isn't that I should go get Tylenol-- I imagine I am about to die and think about if I should call an ambulance or not.

Mainly though, I just get on with life.

Next week there are two more assignments to complete for this particular course. I have to do an art collage of my life and I have to work on my own Eulogy.  We will see how that goes.


Barb Polan said...

Hi Linda. Jo has a blog entry about the stages of grief and it included one not in the original list: re-creation Or re-invention, I don't remember which, but it was the step of creating something good out of the mess we find ourselves in.

I LOVE the idea of writing my own eulogy - or at least something to be read at my funeral.

Linda said...

Thanks Barb.. I took a look in Jo's blog to find it. She actually did a whole series of posts on the topic. I will take the time to read them over the weekend. I will probably blog again on the topic sometime soon.

Barb, go for it and write a Eulogy or something for yourself. you can do homework too! lol

The Eulogy assignment has us pretend we are at our own funeral and that a friend, relative, co-worker and someone from a community organization or your place of worship get up and speak about you. Write about who they are and what they say about you. I am finding it very hard to imagine what others might say. When I think about my funeral plans I think more about music and not eulogies.

Humpty Dumpty said...

There is no way I could possibly get up and speak at a funeral, no matter how close the person was to me. My voice just wouldn't make it through the first few words and the tears in my eyes would make it impossible to read what I'd written, so please don't ask me to speak at your funeral! I could write something about you for someone else to read, but the thought of losing you would be too hard for me to actually read it myself. Just thinking about it has me tearing up! For me, I'm not having a funeral, at least, I hope my family won't want to do more than, maybe, a wake or a memorial tea like we did for my mom.

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