Grief is not only for Death

 The five stages of grief are:

  • denial
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

I have always dealt with challenges in my life by writing about them. But in this past year, I have not been able to write about my newest, and perhaps most devastating challenge. I’m not sure I should be writing about it now, because it isn’t only my challenge. But I am finally at the fifth stage of grief, and know that at this point, it is healthy for me to share my thoughts.

A year ago, my husband, the rock in my life, the source of my love and security, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Tears fill my eyes as I write this. But this is something we must face together, because we are so much stronger together. Our future will not be the one we dreamed of or hoped for. That is something we must accept. So with that acceptance comes a reconfiguring of our plans.

Here are the things I am thankful for: We have had a good life. We are at a point where our children are successful and happy adults. My husband is now 60 years old and I am about to turn 64. We have been married for 37 years and together for 42 years. We have weathered many struggles and have found a deeper love for each other because of them. The future may not be what we wanted it to be, but we have been given the gift of knowing what that future will be. And so, we will adjust our plans.

It is time to enjoy our lives to the fullest. It is time to travel and to embrace the love that we have for each other. It is time to share in the amazing achievements and life events of our children. To watch our family grow and flourish. It is time to put aside worries and insecurities and to immerse ourselves in joy. We are lucky. We have time. And we have had time. This did not happen when our children were young and dependent on us. In fact, they are adults who will share in our future and insure that proper care is available. We are fortunate to have such a close relationship with them and the significant people in their lives. And I will not dwell on any burden this will cause our family. Instead, I will be thankful for the open arms of family and friends who will always be there for us.

Death comes to us all and it is never a pretty thing. But it can be beautiful when love is shared to the very end.

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