“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
*The fingers on your right hand have been going numb- and now they don’t work
*Your bad leg can’t be saved
*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.