“According to Elizabeth Kubler Ross: When we are dying or have suffered a catastrophic loss, we all move through 5 distinct stages of grief. We go into denial because the loss is so unthinkable we can’t imagine it’s true. We become angry with everyone; angry with survivors, Angry with ourselves, then we bargain. We beg, we plead, we offer everything we have. We offer up our souls in exchange for just one more day. When the bargaining has failed and the anger is too hard to maintain, we fall into depression, despair, until finally we have to accept that we have done everything we can. We let go. We let go and move into acceptance.”

                                         Meredith Grey – ‘Good Mourning’ S6;E1          
I tend to dive in and swim around in the feelings of something. When confronted with the grief of losing a child or my dad, I dove headlong into my grief and swam around in it until I found my way to the other side. But I have found when my family, friends, and loved ones are faced with a medical crisis that has me in the center of it, I find myself taking care of them until the crisis of it all has passed. Then, and only then, do I start the process of accepting what has just happened to me.
So now that the initial shock and fear of my diagnosis has worn off, and I have survived my week of radiation treatments for the brain tumor that I am slowly coming to realize will be included in the rest of my life, I can start grieving and eventually accepting my new reality. Because it isn’t just death we grieve.
Lexie: Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone.
Mark: It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life. It’s loss. It’s change.
Alex: And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime.
Izzie: That’s how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you survive.
Derek: By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won’t feel this way. It won’t hurt this much.
Bailey: Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way.
Owen: So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty.
Meredith: The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can’t control it.
Arizona: The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes.
Callie: And let it go when we can.
Meredith: The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again.
Cristina: And always, every time, it takes your breath away.
Meredith: There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.
Alex: Denial.
Derek: Anger.
Bailey: Bargaining.
Lexie: Depression.
Richard: Acceptance.
~Grey’s Anatomy, S6;E2 ‘Goodbye’
Now that everyone has gone home, and treatment is done, it’s time to start figuring this out for myself. I think I was hung up in denial for awhile because the idea that I would have an inoperable brain tumor thrown at me after everything I have already survived is so unthinkable I just could not figure out how to accept it.
Chronic pain due to a degenerative condition of my f*cking spine, Fibromyalgia, a pin in my foot, and a hip replacement for my 34th birthday. Not enough? How about we throw in losing a child at 20 weeks gestation, almost dying of sepsis, and a couple of blood transfusions? No? How about a f*cking inoperable BRAIN TUMOR?! Seriously?? Are you kidding me??
I don’t think I got mad until this week. I believe in light and love and karma. I believe in being strong and I believe in faith, trust, and sometimes even a little bit of pixie dust. But as the reality that this tumor may always be a part of me, even if it’s in remission (as we’re hoping the radiation beat it in to) has sunk in, I was also confronted with the biggest scare of being in a wreck I’ve had in 12 years. Four days ago I was driving my mom to the airport, and after many, many years of driving across the country, through Canada, through New York City, Boston, DC, Detroit, and a 100 other places, I almost got hit not once, not even twice, but 3 fucking times in less than an hour. 
The first one was not actually that big of a deal. Chick not paying attention almost rear ends me as we stop for a light and then flips me off for her ineptitude. Whatever. The second one was some nut-job apparently trying to escape life, prison, the loony bin….who knows? I’m actually not sure how he didn’t run into my car and it left my hands shaking, but I figured (hoped) that was the worst of it. Not 20 minutes later some guy in a rented 26 foot Penske truck moved into my lane on a major 5 line freeway in moderate traffic at 70 mph without looking! I snapped.
Side note: I have actually rented and driven one of those trucks 600 miles by myself. If you know me personally, you know how much fun it must have been when I climbed down out of it at the truck stops. For those that don’t know me in my every day, I’m 5’4″, 120 lbs. I cracked up every time I stopped for gas at the truck stops and it was me that climbed down out of that great big truck. 
I don’t know if it was that I was a good enough driver that I got myself, my child, and my mother out of that situation, or if it was just a little bit of good luck or good karma, or if it was my guardian angel looking out for me, but we made it out of a very dangerous and scary situation not only unharmed, but without a scratch on my car. I think maybe some of all of the above, but probably mostly an angel watching over me and some good karma.
But I was pissed. I yelled, I laid on my horn, I made some hand gestures. I was gonna go crazy-white-girl on that guy and gawd help him if he had stopped because I was ready to get out of my car, climb up that truck, and in no delicate language, explain clearly to him what kind of mistake he had made. (I’m a redhead.)
But I think that’s when I got angry. I don’t need you trying to kill me. I’m trapped in a body that’s doing a really fantastic job of that all by itself and I really don’t need any help!!
I’m fighting like hell to survive all this shit. I just spent the last 2-3 weeks taking care of all three of my kids, my mother, my husband, and now me as I try to survive the dose of radiation that would normally take roughly 30 treatments in just 5 treatments inside of one week. I got mad. I looked at the ceiling and flipped off the heavens. What the HELL?! 
My husband had actually, at one point, thought I might be “unbreakable”, but has since learned that while I am strong, I can be broken. I’m fighting. I’m strong. I’m trying because my family needs me. And I’m not going out on anybody else’s terms but mine.
So I came home and hid under my bed for a few days. I’ve figured out that I have hit angry in the grieving process. But that’s good. It’s progress. It means I’m taking back control. I’m fighting because I still have something to lose.
Keep fighting. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it hurts. Yes, you hit a wall. But everything has a beginning and an end. ❤ ~ Xun

2 responses

  1. […] “let him go” (I do so love euphemisms…../s). I wrote about the five stages of grief and how it wasn’t surprising that hubs would hang out in disbelief or denial and I headed […]


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