Grief for the Failing Body

“Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.” -Dr. Denis Waitley, author and speaker

                *Your doctor tells you that your best hope is a colostomy

                or

                *The fingers on your right hand have been going numb- and now they don’t work

                or

                *Your bad leg can’t be saved

                or

                *Your voice is gone…

                …and the list of things you’ll never do again or ways you’ll never be again grows in your mind until you can’t imagine living a full life without full use of your body. Worst of all? No one gets it.

                The devastation of failing health or bodily limitations is a grief rarely talked about in public forums, but a painfully valid grief nonetheless.

                When we lose function of any part of our bodies, we lose a part of our self. The impact on our daily life can be sweeping and can include loss of autonomy, communication, ease, pride, hobbies,  intimacy, social life, mobility, expression and countless other losses. The losses compound until losing the function of a body part becomes losing the function of your previously-happy marriage. The implications of these losses are hard to articulate, and that’s if you can even identify them.

                Like grief after a death, grieving non-death losses means reconciling the past with the future while recognizing the massive gaps now present.

                This is a time for extra support including counseling, practical help, and emotional support from friends and families. These losses- profound as they are- often go unacknowledged, even in the medical community. But these losses need to be recognized and processed in a way that allows grief and hope to coexist.

Published by Angela Dora Dobrzynski

My name is Angela Dora Dobrzynski. I'm a professional counselor, and am passionate for all things personal development and human behavior. I specialize in grief and life transitions, with a special interest in health and stress psychology, emotional resilience and utilizing strengths as the basis of personal development. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Pennsylvania. I have a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Rosemont College and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Stockton University. Additionally, I hold a certificate in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and was granted a certificate in NonProfit Leadership From Arcadia University’s School of Continuing Education as well as a certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from Bryn Mawr School of Social Work. My professional experience includes work in the hospice of a major local healthcare system, Women's Resource Center, The Renfrew Center, Manor College and Children’s Crisis Treatment Center. I am a member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. In my personal life I spend time kayaking, writing, gardening and connecting with my loved ones.

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