Allowing Grief: The Importance of Letting Go

Allowing Grief: The Importance of Letting Go
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I sat stunned as tears welled. I gazed toward the pain in my knee. My pants were torn. Blood pooled, then dripped down my calf. I was transfixed. The contents of my purse were strewn beneath a car. I reached for my phone but recoiled from the pain in my hands. Both palms had road rash.

I sat up, confused. I looked down at the marble pavement. The drag of my foot drop had caught the marbling, and down I’d gone. I surveyed my surroundings and realized that I was alone. Only then did I release the enormity of my emotions. Sitting on the pavement in a parking lot, I hung my head and sobbed.

The catharsis was visceral and necessary. But it was far from over. In the privacy of my car, I let go. I was overcome with resentment. An infusion of anger ran through my veins. My body was at full tilt. I hit the steering wheel with fury. I screamed aloud and with abandon. I cursed this disease, its side effects, unfairness, and progression. I cursed my very being.

And then it was over. It took two miles to exorcise my demons. I pulled into my garage in stunned silence. I sat in my car and thought about my reaction — such a cacophony of emotions. My anger was enough to increase my blood pressure. While uncharacteristic, I wonder if this could be my new M.O.? Were active lesions intensifying my pseudobulbar?

I looked in the rearview mirror. I saw a deep sadness in the weary, bloodshot eyes staring back at me. And in those eyes, I found my answer.

I was grieving.

Grief is beguiling. While we all encounter loss, it manifests differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. The only wrong would be to deny yourself the opportunity for healing. The enormity of my emotions speaks to grief being a continuum. What I had assumed to be extinct lay dormant. It took that fall on that day at that time to open the fissure.

I am grateful that it did. I do a great job of being happy because that is who I am. My grateful, effervescent self is grieving. Falling apart does not negate my being; it releases stress. Only then can I truly be myself.

Progressive multiple sclerosis commands that we pay attention to our emotional, spiritual, and physical selves. It is the ultimate trifecta, each third equally reliant on the other two for balance.

Or if you are me, un-balance.

***

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 Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. She is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. She is also an active advocate in the MS community. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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6 comments

  1. Jennifer Powell says:

    Thank you Judith. It is important to convey the realities of living with MS. I thank you for reading and commenting and hope you are having a beautiful day.

    Kindly,
    Jenn

  2. Lydia Iwaschina says:

    Jenn…..I think so many of us read the stories and we just cannot comment because we are afraid of opening that floodgate of emotions that you mentioned. I don’t want to lose control, I don’t want my family to worry, and yet I’m disappointed my friends never ask how I am. Everyone has always viewed me as this strong, stoic, tenacious person, but right now I am letting those silent tears flow, I am feeling sorry for myself, and it is a horrible, foggy day in Michigan. And I lost my best friend I shared everything with…my kitty Nikki on Dec 12th. She could keep my secrets and give me unconditional love and support, and was always there. She was my diary! And now I feel better letting my emotions flow like a river into the sea and disperse into the vastness. My best to you Jenn, thank you for sharing your story that shed beauty in a way to some of us and aided us in letting those precious emotions come forth and bring some healing!

  3. Lonie C. Jr. says:

    You really captured my true spirit and emotions at the present time of my life. I truly admire how you expressed your self in the Black & White. Plz feel free to share more. I now know I’m not crazy and definitely not the only one. I’m 52 years old and I have PPMS and often wonder how much more I face ahead. I was once always laughing smiling and truly a blessed and Joy filled person with GREAT EXPECTATIONS OF LIFE before this diagnosis.😔

  4. Kris Marshall says:

    My husband developed this MS result six months ago and has been struggling ever since. As results manifest themselves, the reality of having MS is sinking in. As his caregiver, I am struggling with how to help him. This article made me realize that he needs to find a way to cope and accept and I need to find ways to support his efforts. Thanks for writing about your experience; it really hit home for me.

  5. Kris says:

    My husband developed this MS result six months ago and has been struggling ever since. As results manifest themselves, the reality of having MS is sinking in. As his caregiver, I am struggling with how to help him. This article made me realize that he needs to find a way to cope and accept and I need to find ways to support his efforts. Thanks for writing about your experience; it really hit home for me.

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