Seeing the South Platte Sentinel’s call for columnists, pondering the pros and cons, sending a note of interest, and receiving, “We would love to have you write again,” I’m back. Knowing the power of our thoughts, I am happy to share my mental wellness thoughts again. Thank you to everyone who told me, my husband, or my family you enjoyed the Mental Matters articles and missed them when I stopped writing; your comments gave my efforts value.
This past year, I practiced what I preach and allowed myself to grieve. In October, 2015, my youngest sister was diagnosed with leukemia and for the next year and four months, we (her family) loved her and supported her as she followed every doctor’s orders. She received a bone marrow transplant, and her body was free of cancer.
But, she died anyway. Her severely compromised immune system failed to heal a lung infection. I’m writing this on the first anniversary of her death.
I went through the loss cycle of denial, bargaining, anger, depression, and finally, the awareness of feeling better; not as angry or sad. About grieving: You can do it now, or you can do it later, but you have to do it. Losing ourselves to work, or pretending we are fine doesn’t cut it; it just postpones relief from the pain.
Time helps, but we have a responsibility to ourselves and to others we love, to contribute to the healing. Personally, I talked about being stuck in my depression and anger phase. I allowed myself to be normal. I didn’t like being sad and angry, but I was, so I hung out there. I stopped doing many things I enjoyed because I didn’t enjoy them anymore. I didn’t socialize a lot, because I was grumpy. I was critical of people and things; basically, I was miserable.
Everyone grieves differently but allowing myself to move through the denial, to accept my bargaining failure, to stop pretending I was fine, to understand where my anger breeds, and then, to surrender the loss of my sister even though life is different, was a necessary process.
After one year, I still have my off-center days, but I’m back into projects, looking to the future, and writing again. Life is only as good as I make it.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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