(A fifth-month reflection)
In the beginning, there was grief, self-pity, and even a bit of loathing, it felt like my entire world had crashed down around me and I was helpless to stop it. I’d love to tell you that as time went on, I’d just forgotten what I lost, but that would be a lie, as I am constantly reminded of my limitations in my day-to-day life. Sure, there are dozens of items that you can get to help with daily life, but those items take time to learn to use and to get used to using.
This is all exasperated when you find places that you just cannot go to due to them not being accessible, and I get that it can be pricy to make somewhere handicap accessible and why some places cannot. I have a special pillow to sleep sitting up, a rollator to walk, a shoe horn with an extended handle to put on my shows, a special bath mat, a commode because I cannot go upstairs and have no bathroom in our house, and the list of peripherals needed to have some semblance of independence goes on and on. Don’t get it twisted though, I am glad these things exist and am not bitching about that at all, it’s the fact that they are needed that hits hardest.
It’s been about five months since I realized my life needed to irrevocably change due to my conditions, and still, I have bouts of sadness and grief, they just aren’t constant anymore. I lost a lot, especially a lifetime of martial arts, but one thing I found that helps is filling that void with things you can still engage in. Hobbies, learning a new talent or skill, getting active in something, be it religious, community, or the like, reading, listening and or practicing music, writing, these are all things I found have helped me out of the deep funk I was in.
Now, I have things to look forward to, things that I enjoy and that enrich my life in positive and meaningful ways. The void left behind is as deep as the oceans; that pain is a wound that will not easily or speedily heal, that’s why it’s important to begin immediately finding things to fill that time with. Family and friends help, as long as they are supportive and sympathetic to what you’re dealing with.
I’ve noticed myself smiling a little more than I was, but that sadness always seems to linger just below the surface of my smile. I know that life has thrown me one hell of a curve ball, and I know that it can only go downhill without a lot of surgery and work, so I know my road ahead is one of misery and struggle. I am not sure I am fully prepared for it all honestly, but anticipating the worst means that if it isn’t the worst case, it’s a step up. So, I am learning to come to terms with my broken meat suit and that the future does not exactly seem to be getting easier (at least not immediately).
Losing my abilities hasn’t been easy and I know the road ahead isn’t set in stone, but I see more difficulties, and it’s a lot like seeing an oncoming train in slow motion, unable to move out of its trajectory. I still deal with this sadness, but I am making more room for happiness, trying to combat it away, as misery is no way to live.