Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Loss On Top Of Grief On Top Of Illness

I’ve been struggling a bit emotionally lately. 

It just passed the six month mark since my dad died, and I’ve been missing him a lot.

Some days I feel very coherent about it and present, and some days it just feels completely unreal, like it never even happened.    

On top of that, I found out that one of my fellow bloggers on HealthCentral, Brad Carlson, passed away from complications of RA. 

When I received the e-mail about it, it felt like a sucker punch to the gut.  I couldn’t believe it.  Brad was just 50 years old, and was diagnosed with RA six years ago.

I’ve been living with lupus and RA for seven years now, so that really hit home for me. 

Having lost my dad when he was 62, I know what it feels like to lose someone before their time.  I have been faced with my own mortality.  But this hit me even harder.  I know people can die from RA, but I’ve never known someone, even indirectly, that has. 

And it feels weird.  I posted about it on Facebook and Twitter, and people offered their condolences. 

But who am I to take claim of this loss? 

Who am I to feel or not feel something about this?

How do you get all broken up about someone you’ve never even met before?

I never met Brad in person.  I don’t even think we ever talked on the phone.  But we communicated via email, and by sharing our struggles with RA, we knew each other in that way. 

And I realize…We do need sympathy.  As a community, we mourn this loss collectively. 

And we didn’t have to meet.  We were partners in the struggle that is living with RA. 

I know that death is a part of life, but it doesn’t make it an easy part, especially if you lack the understanding as to why it had to happen when it did. 

Lately, I feel like people expect me to be over the death of my dad.  That I should just move on.  But it’s hard to move on when someone who was so important isn’t there. 

There are so many things that I wish for.  I wish there wouldn’t have been a flood.  I wish my dad wouldn’t have gone to work that day.  I wish Brad would never have been diagnosed with RA. 

I struggle with how to make sense of these events in my own life, as I grapple with my own issues. 

It feels like too much.  

1 comment:

  1. There's no limit to the time or way you grieve. It's almost as if you have an ongoing relationship with the person who has left your life: sometime you're livid at that person for leaving you, sometimes you feel tender toward what they might have experienced, sometimes you're smiling at something you remember about that person. The grief continues to evolve, although almost never in a smooth upward way. People may put limits on how long they're going to be empathetic, but as long as you don't feel stuck in your grief, you don't have to accept anyone else's limits on how your grief evolves or even who you grieve. I've always felt that other deaths can prompt a reassessment of the grief, feeling it and dealing with it in a different way, based on your current experiences.