‘To Everything There Is a Season’: Coping With Grief, Loss, and MS

Managing chronic illness has taught me important lessons about facing adversity

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by Teresa Wright-Johnson |

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coping with grief | A banner for Teresa's column, which depicts a group of people cheering as they look over a beautiful forest landscape.

Hello, all. It’s been almost a year since I’ve written a column, and I missed connecting with you.

I’ve been processing the grief of losing my mother in September 2020, withstanding the challenges of living with multiple sclerosis and chronic pain, and valiantly attempting to find the message in the mess surrounding me.

Sadly, in February, my father passed away. Within 16 months, both parents left this earthly terrain. The monumental loss catapulted me into the greatest despair I’ve ever encountered. The agony was intense. Palpable were the salty, acidic tears that fell incessantly, burning the innermost parts of my soul. There were instances when taking a step felt impossible.

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As I reflect on this time, I realize that every step I’ve taken has led me to this moment. As grief endures, gratitude abides. The intent of this column is to encourage you to persevere through life’s most difficult occurrences. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned through my grief is the revelation and confirmation that there’s a reason for every season of my existence.

I remain sojourned in my season of loss and mourning. I know its remnants will linger for as long as I live, and that my grief cannot be measured by others’ standards. I need to feel every emotion that visits, allowing it to stay until I’ve gleaned its message.

Last July, I wrote about the peril of toxic positivity, and how it’s affected me and many others. I refused to allow anyone to stipulate the length of time and manner in which I lamented my losses. This remains true. I continue to do what is best for my mental and physical health. My emotions range from silent tears to screams and wails. Sometimes I desire to conquer the world in my parents’ honor, and other times, I don’t want to exist without them.

Yet there is beauty in the tragedy. I exalt in knowing my intense grief is the pronouncement of our grand love. The infinite adoration my parents and I shared is encrypted in my heart.

As I travel this unknown path, I cannot see what’s ahead. I resolve that although my parents’ season on earth is over, my season of continuing their legacy has commenced.

Life is the master teacher, and many of her lessons are learned in hindsight. I recognize that even this is a gift.

In solitude and reflection, I was compelled to reexamine my identity and being. Every loss I’ve endured has required a new version of myself. Multiple sclerosis, chronic illness, and chronic pain necessitate fluidity and the ability to pivot. Death, grief, loss, and adversity mandate the use of these same characteristics. I couldn’t prepare for most of the events that have challenged me throughout my life. I am, however, persevering through them.

If speaking about loss, grief, and the indigestible emotions that arise throughout the process supports one person, exposing my soul is worth it. To anyone who feels lonely or misunderstood, please know you are not alone. I stand in the same space: uncertain yet knowing. Depleted while complete. Despondent yet determined. Holding on to hope with every breath I take.

Life is constantly evolving, and so are we. Every season has a purpose. I’m looking to the hills for help, avowing that I’ll persist. Thank you for listening and for holding space.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” — Ecclesiastics 3:1-2, King James Version

You’re invited to visit my website at www.teresawrightjohnson.com.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Mary avatar

Mary

My sincere condolences on the loss of your Mom and Dad, Theresa! In the past 11 months, my husband lost one of his brothers and I lost my only sister., who was closest female friend. I also lost my brother 21 years ago. My parents are both gone also. I know the deep pain of grief one feels when a loved one, someone you have known your whole life, no longer walks besides you on earth. Each loss has been devastating, especially my sister’s, but it is a reflection of the deep love I still feel for each one of them. They will always be a part of me, never forgotten. I am forever grateful they shared most of my life journey with me.

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Mary avatar

Mary

I found this article about grief to be helpful. I thought I would share it in case you or one of your readers will as well. https://shareably.net/woman-struggling-grief-asks-advice-old-mans-response-taking-internet/?fbclid=IwAR2xKWrCXWvr0wu596vhK6fiwxrS6dJkSY9YYaE8gyj0-14NctICiYmvS_g

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Laura avatar

Laura

As always, your words move us. I’m so grateful you can write about your grief and celebration of your parents in this positive tone. You’ve share so much that we all can relate to in these few words. Hugs and more, Laura

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