Friday, February 20, 2009

Feeling grief means being alive

A potent, poignant post today on the PsychCentral blog.

Feeling Grief Means Being Alive: 7 Tips to Help
If you've ever experienced grief over a loss, be ready to recall some emotions when you read this.

In my own cancer adventure, especially at the beginning, I had to experience grief: the anticipated loss of everything I knew, the prospect of saying good-bye to everything and everyone I know, saying good-bye to my entire future. Today, that confrontation has left me more alive than ever: I know each day is a reprieve from that loss.

My time will come someday, as will yours. Tomorrow is the memorial service for a former co-worker in Minnesota; in December a high school classmate took her own life; yesterday a current co-worker's mother finally passed on.

Grief is our lot: it's part of the human condition, as social beings who care. And having been there, I have a strong sense that ability to feel those feelings cleanly and clearly is good for our health.

Speaking of experiencing feelings, I recently started a little "hobby blog" that's serializing my cancer journal from two years ago. Every post that I made on my CaringBridge journal is set to reappear, two years later, to the minute. Here's that new blog: Laugh, Sing and Eat Like a Pig. The current post, from 2/19/07, is about a related topic: a few weeks after my diagnosis, I realized that how I viewed my tumors could make a difference, and I shifted my perception, to be more accepting of everything. Who knows how much that affected my outcome.

Having said all that, I'll also say that the work we do to improve healthcare has as one of its objectives the prevention of premature grief.

And all that adds up to this advice: while alive, be very, very alive. Just enjoy the heck out of this day and every day – and every glorious person who crosses your path.

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