If you give me permission to cry…
– I can grieve the loss of my hair as it begins to fall out in spite of my best efforts to be “kind” to my hair. It’s not so much that I fear the end baldness, it is the process itself that is difficult. The transition reminds me that my body is undergoing stress and it reminds that I am in a fight for my life. Having hair allows me to pretend that the trauma is over. Having no hair allows me to know the trauma is over. The transition is the worst. After I cry, I move through grief more quickly to a place where I can feel settled.
– I can process the loss of my physical strength. I have always had energy. I paint. I do windows. I mud and tape drywall. I move furniture, much to my husband’s chagrin (grin). I cook. I clean. I pay bills. I walk (every morning with my husband), I do…. whatever needs to be done. My dad was the same way and he prided himself so much on his athletic prowess and fitness. After he came home from work each night he would change into his work clothes and head to the bush with his chainsaw in hand. Hours later he would return with a full sweat on and a truck load of freshly cut wood which he would then stack to dry in the sun. He had so much energy. In his later years, Dad was stuck with this energy inside a body that would not cooperate. He was so impatient with himself for the longest time. Eventually he told me that Parkinson’s had taught him to be patient. Maybe I ought to heed his wisdom. After I cry, I have more strength.
– I can be sad for a while. Yes, I have a positive attitude. Yes, I imagine full recovery. Yes, I imagine living life into a ripe old age and being able to see my children settled and giving me grandchildren. Yes, I count my blessings. Yes. On occasion, however, I get sad. I don’t feel like being positive. I indulge in self-pity. I call upon the Heavens to help me find courage and strength and happiness – and sometimes they don’t respond right away. But after I cry, I can pick myself and brush myself, and start all over again. (I sound like Nat King Cole.)
– I can pick myself up again. Releasing my tears helps me to re-locate my strength. I find my “grit”. I won’t be down for long. After I cry, I feel better.
– I can be vulnerable for a while. I know I am strong. But I’m not strong all the time. I draw my strength once I can get my tears out and have a damn good cry. Having someone there to comfort me when I cry allows me let ‘er rip and have a good cry without feeling judged that I am not strong. A dear friend told me that only strong people cry. I didn’t really understand that for the longest time. I do now. After I cry, I feel less vulnerable.
After I cry:
– I can work through the bad spots;
– I can feel better;
– I can cope;
– I can deal with hair loss;
– I feel like I am real;
– I feel a deeper bond with people;
– I feel like you hear my pain…. so you can understand how difficult it is to always be strong.
– I feel like you are acknowledging my struggle and not ignoring it.
– I feel like you are “with” me and not ignoring a part of me that is reaching out.
… if you let me cry.