We don’t have to stop living!

Work as a nurse often involved counseling patients as they mourned the loss(es) they experienced due to a chronic illness. Slowly, they realized that there would be no moving on with their new life until they let go of the past, realized that the past was just that: the past, and that limitations were now a part of their lives. It was my job to facilitate this realization. The losses, the limitations would possibly always be with them, but limitations didn’t need to hold them back from attempting to set new goals.

This came naturally to me, because I could empathize from having had several chronic illnesses. I’d ‘been there, done that,’ “I have an idea of what you feel, but I can NEVER know exactly how it impacts you and yours.”

But, for some reason, I naively thought that the losses I experienced at the hands of chronic illness, wouln’t have the same effect on me, my life or impact on my loved ones. 

Then came the diagnosis of lupus and more complications; my ‘plate’ got progressively full, limitations grew and it became painfully clear that I wouldn’t ever be able to do the  some of things that I used to. But, did I do like I counseled my patients to do, accept their reality (accept that I had limitation), accept my reality and move on with my life? No. Not until this afternoon.

What happened this afternoon? A dear friend, whom I think knowa  me (possibly better) than I know myself, pointed out that by holding on to the past and not embracing the present and what I can do NOW: was preventing me from enjoying the present. Why I didn’t ‘get-it’ until now is anyone’s guess. But, everything in it’s own time!

I was still able to point out the accomplishments of others, and help patients understand that certain things are no longer within their power to do; but did I take own advice? Not until I’d spoken with my girlfriend; she doesn’t know the impact she’s had on my life.

Achievement against all odds was all I’d known my whole life and once the ability to a physically achieve was gone and I could no longer achieve those things, I lived in the past. Until, I found thie blog and other pursuits.

So, my advice? Understand that you may not be able to do the things you used to do; but that it is okay. It’s hard, so very hard, but once we learn to live within our limitations, we do more living than we EVER thought possible. ~Annie

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