We made it.
We’ve cruised through grief (more like bumped, and skidded, and shredded our way through, but still), and we’re at the final stage, which is acceptance. Now, remember, these are purely my adulterations of Dr. Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief, conformed to the process of grief we go through within chronic disease. Were I very motivated, I would go back to graduate school and research the heck out of this idea, but alas…three kids, done with school and not motivated, so I am simply sharing my theories on the concept of grief within chronic disease.
Many hear that term and think it means that you have to be all, “This is totally awesome. I am so down with feeling like shit forever! Bring me another heap full!” That is not what acceptance is. You don’t have to be happy about what you have been dealt. Within chronic disease, you can even hold on to hope that you will heal (I think I have recommended this multiple times. You should most definitely hold onto hope, my friends.)
Acceptance here is not cozying up to your new disease or circumstance, it’s just sort of accepting that it is there like you accept your new zit on your face, or the pink eye that is forcing you to go without eye make-up for weeks. You’re not cool with it. You wish it would go away. But it’s there and you are compensating with concealer, lipstick, and glasses. (Not that I have been dealing with either of these issues – But if I were, I would have accepted the name of Zoobo or captain cheesey bread for my zit…make your choice in the comments).
Acceptance is telling yourself you can handle it. Acceptance doesn’t mean ignoring the true feelings. Many of the beliefs that I grew up with are not helpful for those who are trying to barrel through the grief that comes with chronic disease. Very well meaning people like to say that we should just trust God through all of it. Be positive. Don’t fear.
Screw that. Be scared. Yell at God. Be honest and true to whatever higher power you believe in. Curse the universe. Not allowing yourself the emotions you need to get to acceptance will mean you never get here. Don’t let anyone look down on your spirituality just because you are genuine, raw, real, and authentic.
This next bit is from my manuscript. I thought about changing it up, but it expresses how I feel so well, and maybe it will make you want to read more of said manuscript and share this blog all over the place and then I can sell, said manuscript and make my dream of helping a whole lot of people and publishing a book actually come true. So here we go:
“You never really get “there”. You go from “here” to another “here”, because as soon as you get “there”, it’s “here” again. “There” is a mirage made possible only when considering the future. “There” cannot exist in the present. “There” is only “here” and we have to hope that we can exist in the here. Don’t envy anyone, because they are “there” and you are not. It may seem that their “here” is better than your “here”, but as long as we are alive, we have a “there” that we are hoping for. It’s only when we accept the “here”, really nuzzle our noses deep into it, that we even start to head in the direction of “there”. Embrace your “here”. Hate your “here” or love it, but accept it and know that you will get “there”. When you do, you will have somewhere else you inevitably want to be, unless you can find something beautiful in the “here” and stick around for a while.”
We have to learn to survive in the here and that is acceptance. It doesn’t mean we are complacent or that we give up. We keep striving, but acceptance is getting to the place where we can still find joy even within the company of our sadistic sidekicks.