Isn’t denial the first stage of grief? I feel like I accepted the diagnosis
( Acceptance, Stage 5) a little too rashly. Maybe it’s a mistake. Oh, yeah – there’s the denial. I’m now self-diagnosing myself with Primary Lateral Sclerosis which looks a little better than ALS. I mean after all, I can’t even pronounce or spell the words for ALS and I should have a disease I can spell, right? I guess that’s denial too. Denial mixed with planning, desperate wishes to get some shit done like boogie board again before my left hand is totally useless. Like build a giant safety net for Maclen’s impending freefall. Like getting lots of music recorded and maybe one more video of Wedding Singer Blues. Like just one more fling with a cutie-pie. Isn’t that Bargaining ( Stage 3)? I’m very precocious. Already up to Stage 3. Trust me to over-achieve in the area of grief. Just a little bit of anger (Stage 2) at the doctor’s office and Healthnet for fucking up the referral. I yelled and said “fucking” before every word. Literally. The sneaky devil in the office got me though. She gave me her name and direct line and said “this is so hard for you, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through” and then I bawled like little baby to her, a complete stranger. Georgia, you are a precious diamond ring swallowed up and now lodged in the lump of shit that is the American Medical System. It’s hard to dig through that shit which is smelly, gooshy and smattered with corn but you’re worth it.
My dad left today. I wish I could make this better for him, I really do. Before he left, he told me of a dream he had. They were able to take the ALS out from me and put it into him. I know how he feels because I would happily shoulder all of my son’s grief if I could. That isn’t possible though (Acceptance, Stage 5) and I recognize that he has his own journey to travel in this life. I can help him with equipment but I don’t get to go with him. It’s like his first camping sleep away to Yosemite. I was so scared he’d freeze to death. Or the Jewish camp, which was apparently a re-enactment of the Exodus from Egypt - where he vomited for 3 days, free fell because of a faulty belay (sp?) and was denied bug spray because there was “too much to carry.” He got through that without me and probably endured it thinking “Well, at least I’ll have a story to tell.” He got that defense mechanism from his Mom. But I don’t want to tell my latest story. I’ll give up using my personal experience as stage fodder to see my son get to be my age (Bargaining again – Stage 3.)
Here’s the cool thing though: The world is filled with the most beautiful and amazing human beings. I feel such love and support – Sally Field has nothing on me. I am humbled and moved and grateful and proud of all the awesome people I know. You know who you are. Why isn’t gratitude one of the stages of grieving? Abundance? Lust for life? I could just eat the whole world up and everyone in it. So beautiful.
This excerpt from Naomi Shihab Nye:
….before you know kindness
as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow
as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness
that makes sense anymore….