Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"The old Kate"

Loss and grief are a normal part of life. Death is a part of life. We are able to process that someone or something is gone and over. We have funerals, wakes, church services, well wishers. There is a “grieving period” and then we move on. We remember the lost and try to move forward.

So how do you grieve what is not dead?

We who have been through PCS have lost our “old” selves. There is a period of waiting and uncertainty where we wonder if that person is ever coming back. We try to do what we used to do, be the people we used to be. We fail, get frustrated, and are stuck in a strange place.

How do you move forward, but not leave your old self behind?

Four years ago, I was a different person. I was stopped in my striving tracks by a fall that I don't even remember. Weeks, Months, Years went by with me and all my loved ones waiting for the “old Kate” to reappear. I struggled through the stages of grief, but couldn't move through them. I was still there and I couldn't let go. I couldn't get to a place of acceptance.

I listened to friend almost exactly a year ago tell me that I might not ever get better. She told me about a relative that just has to live with what she has. I didn't know that this would be the turning point in my life and the first step toward acceptance

Sometimes, I pretended that I didn't have a head injury or said I was fine. I got angry at God, doctors, friends, and family. I made little promises to myself and to God, “if I could be better I could do this....” I was engulfed in deep sadness at times, and lost myself for days. I tried every drug and type of therapy that I could find to try and get better. I saw countless doctors and was solely focused on my condition. I had surgery to replace a disc in my neck, and started my recovery from that.

I think it's getting better, maybe easier to accept who I have become through this. I am still going through stumbles and struggles, but I no longer feel weighed down by the discouragement and disappointment of loss. I know that I will never be the girl I once was, and in a weird way, I'm ok with that.

“... you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4