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The Most Important Thing Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Has Taught Me About Grief

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When you have Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), you gain a deep understanding of grief. As I have grown weaker, I have lost many abilities. And like all people, I have lost those I love. No longer can I write, hold a book, feed myself, or walk. No longer can I feel the touch of lost loved ones. Each loss has brought much grief.

Grief is inevitable when there is so much you have lost. If you do not deal with it, eventually, it will eat you alive. I know this from experience. For too long, I buried my grief deep in my soul. I put up a positive front and acted the part, but it was a facade. Underneath the surface, anger and sadness threatened to overwhelm me. I knew I would be consumed by it if I did not learn to grieve appropriately.

“Forced lessons often teach you the most.”

In time, I learned how to grieve and let go. The most important thing  I learned about grieving is that you have to go through it. There is no way around it and no shortcuts to take. You must feel the pain and sorrow and express it in the company of those who love you. In the face of loss, no one can move on in an instant. Yet, in our fast-paced society, there is no room to take the time to grieve. So many seem to assume that to grieve is to show weakness. Why are we so afraid to let ourselves be vulnerable in front of each other? Strength is the ability to bear your vulnerability to the world without shame or fear. There is nothing wrong with taking time to mourn for what we have lost, and all of us have faced loss. It is vital to take the time to grieve because if we do not, we will stumble under the weight of our loss. So, take the time to feel all the feelings surrounding loss and talk it out with someone you love. Find healthy ways to explore your
grief and let it go.

The danger of ignoring your grief and burying it deep within yourself is becoming bitter and callous. If you can’t feel and understand your pain, how can you hope to sympathize and emphasize with another’s pain? We all need to learn how to feel again so that we can help shoulder each other’s burdens. You begin to lose part of your humanity when you become unaware of your pain and the pain of others. We were created to depend upon one another. Grieving, especially a lost loved one, is a sign of love. It means you were willing to become vulnerable and open your heart to another. Pain is inevitable if you desire to love someone or something.  The higher your sense of loss, the more you were willing to love. It takes far greater courage and strength to grieve the loss of what you love instead of hiding from it.

Photo credit: grejak/Getty Images

Originally published: March 20, 2020
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