“Sometimes people cry not because they're weak. It's because they've been strong for too long.” – Anonymous
Chronic illness robs us of so much. Staying positive is important, but so is allowing ourselves to grieve our losses. Some of us are constantly trying to stay strong for others. In doing so, we can forget that it is okay to cry.
I’m guilty of trying to ignore all I’ve lost. Sometimes I forget that there are new losses to grieve. Life doesn’t stand still, so with new stages of life come more things that we cannot do. No matter what stage of life we are at, we are losing out on something.
Being sick as a child means missing out on many childhood experiences. The abilities most children take for granted such as going to school, making friends, going to friends' houses, going to camp, participating in activities, playing sports, etc. are lost.
Teenagers may lose out on experiencing first dates and going to school dances. Young adults can miss out on going to college, starting a career, getting married, and having children.
Those who have children may miss out on being the parents they want to be. It can mean missing little league games and recitals. I can only imagine how heart wrenching it must be to not be able to play with your kids. Even when the children are older, there are still many things to be missed. Then there are grandchildren.
Being a single adult while sick comes with its own difficulties. I can’t imagine having to manage on my own. On the other hand, having a significant other doesn’t make it easy. I often feel like a burden.
Many of us deal with loss of our career at some point. We may have lost the ability to keep our house clean or even take care of ourselves. The list of things we miss because of illness is never ending and can be overwhelming.
Of course focusing on what we do have and are able to do is key to keeping from becoming depressed, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take time to acknowledge these losses.
Have you been too busy being strong to grieve your losses?