I’m still “watching” this “Thirty But Seventeen” show (I just got back from yet another long drive … and it’s not my last of the week!) and I was drawn in by another great quote (I’m not quite sure about the show per se, but there are some great allusions in it – many of which I haven’t heard before) –
“The only cure for grief is action.”
– G. H. Lewes
I looked this quote up and, as is often the case, I was bombarded by questions from “Quora;” – “Is action the only cure for grief? What sort of action?” The question was answered very eloquently by someone who has faced a grief I cannot imagine – I will link it here if you are interested in reading it:
For and to me, there is truth in the above quote. If I reference the grief of a friend and the loss of her mother and how she has come to BETTER terms with it (I don’t know that we can ever just be “okay” with something we grieve and perhaps that is the point at which I question this quote – the word “cure;” I don’t know that there is a “cure,” but there is ASSISTANCE and moving forward, which, as I define it here, IS action….), I can say that her ACTION of seeking out the company of friends and making herself go out and walk every morning and then making herself confront her mother’s room in her home by redecorating it after a “reasonable” period of time had passed helped her tremendously. I cannot say that she is “cured” from her grief – I went with her to a service that, in part, honored her mother, and although it was many months after her mother had passed and although her mother had been in poor health for many years before she passed, and she cried and cried – but it is not the IMMEDIATE emotion in her mind most of the time now. And I do believe her engagement in the aforementioned actions did help her “move on” to the best of her ability.
For me, I cannot speak to that kind of grief – I deal very poorly with death and with anything “permanent” in general – but for the kind of grief that is involved with CHRONIC ILLNESS, I think it is imperative that we ACT in some way in order to differentiate ourselves from our illnesses. I think after so many years of being sick and being removed from “society” and losing so much we tend to associate our illnesses with who we are – I am guilty of that just in calling myself “The Spoonie Sensei” (there is a bit of humor in there as well, but still….). However, doing anything and everything we can to MOVE FORWARD in some way does help put some distance between us and our illnesses – I suppose that is one of the many great ironies in writing this blog, that it is at once defining myself as one with my illnesses and separating me from them. At any rate, without delving too deeply, I do believe that any ACTION, however “small” it might seem, is a way to move away from the grief that we unquestionably encounter when we face years of chronic illness and when we look at the many things we feel we have “lost” as a result of something that is either completely out of our control or (sometimes worse) something that gets WORSE despite our best efforts to be “healthy.” It is in that 10 minutes of stretching a day to try to achieve better flexibility so that I can start to move on and work out parts of my body that have been irreparably damaged by the diseases and the drugs to treat them; it is the writing here; it is in going out to the Rockapella show despite not having slept; it is in learning one sextuplet at a time in “Winter Wind,” &c. &c. &c. It is only in learning how to “redefine” ourselves (in every sense of the term) in order to DEFINE ourselves above and beyond what our bodies have “done to” us.
I just want to thank everyone who has read these posts – I have so much more to write and more all the time and I really want to get this going not only for the benefit of others but for my own benefit. I genuinely believe that THAT action (in writing here) is a way to move toward the future and toward acceptance. At any rate, I hope that you can find or have found an action or actions that can help you BE YOU above and beyond your illness(es) or other circumstance(s). I am not saying that it is necessarily “bad” to define yourself by your illness – I don’t think we really have much of a say in that matter – but I do think it’s important that we have other ways of “defining” ourselves as well. It is important to reflect on OUR past lives to see if where we were once headed is still where we want to be going and to move forward as best as we can whatever we decide.
I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day today! I am completely exhausted and I have so much catching up to do here but I wanted to write this one while I could! Thanks much again for taking the time to read this and I will be back soon soon soon!
❤ Always, Beth