Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dealing with Loss

The theme for this section of school is Dealing with Loss and Palliative Care. Yeah. The topic is heavy. I just finished writing two papers that are due this week.

My Fall Sunset photo just seems to go with the theme.
We watched a movie in class that I blogged about last year, the Bucket List . We were challenged to create our own bucket list with a minimum of 15 items that we want to do, achieve or experience and explain why.  I apparently have a lot of things I want to do and even more of places I want to go. This assignment was fun for me and I just took a very casual style in writing it up, I kept adding web links  to show exactly where I want to travel to. I'm not sure what the teacher will think of web links scattered throughout my printed paper but it made me happy to write it that way.

The next one was much harder. We had to write about our personal experiences with the stages of grief.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her book called On Death and Dying (New York: McMillan Publishing Company, 1969), presented a theory that people experience five different stages during the grieving process. The stages she suggested are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. These stages are understood to occur at different speeds and in different orders and in fact a person might jump back and forth between these stages. The study was originally reflecting the experiences of the dying person and was revolutionary in its time. Common culture is now accepting that these stages are also seen in others who experience great loss be it the death of a loved one or other crisis; profound loss is expressed by the intense emotion of grief.

I could have written about the death of  one of my parents or even a large event that I was at where a tragic accident occurred but I decided the best thing for me would be to work through the experience of my illness and brain injury. Not an easy choice especially with marks attached. I swing rapidly back and forth between "the stages" on any given day.

  •  Denial? I'm kind of thinking I was in denial when I decided I needed to go back to college.
  • Anger? You bet. I just have to think about the hospital I was at. Just have to look at my cane. 
  • Bargaining? Well maybe. Do you think if I just went up and down the stairs at school 500 more times I would get fitter and I would stop needing to depend on the elevator?
  • Depression? Been there a lot and my social worker and meditation were very helpful in the first years. Time and physical recovery have helped.  There are still bad days though. Christmas was very hard.
  • Acceptance? Okay yes sometimes  I accept the situation, because truth be told I am doing spectacularly well.  But then... something goes wrong. I drop a cup that I picked up with my left hand or I have trouble getting the laundry basket down the stairs. (This morning I got frustrated and just kicked my clothes loose down the stairs toward the washing machine). I get a bad headache and my first response isn't that I should go get Tylenol-- I imagine I am about to die and think about if I should call an ambulance or not.

Mainly though, I just get on with life.

Next week there are two more assignments to complete for this particular course. I have to do an art collage of my life and I have to work on my own Eulogy.  We will see how that goes.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Parking Place

Where I park at college
I hope everyone has had a great holiday season. I had two weeks off of school and was just starting to de-stress and wham... here we are back at school already.

By 8 this morning I was driving in the horrible frozen world that is Winnipeg It is  -17 F or -27 C. right now and it has been cold for a couple of weeks now. I got to school to realize that my Handicap parking pass for the college had expired over the holidays. There were no day only parking spots left either. The parking attendant told me to pull to the side of the parking lot and go renew my permit inside and then come back and park the car in a handicap spot. It was the first day of class for the term and there were so many students paying up for new courses and getting their IDs that the line was the length of the hall.

Class started and I was still in line. I was still in line an hour later when some of my class members walked past during coffee break. The guy behind me in line told me to go sit down somewhere and he would save my spot. He was worried that I was going to keel over. There is something really wrong about standing in a line for and hour and a half in order to get a handicap parking spot!  Maybe it took three minutes to pay for the pass and then I went to move the car. I'm paid up for 3 more months.

I missed two thirds of my class. This was first day of a new course called "Dealing with Loss and Palliative Care".  I am dreading the course already so I guess that means  I still  have a few issues I need to deal with.

Yup the holidays are over.
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