Not too long ago I spoke with a group of individuals from the Parkinson Society. With a warm welcome they shared some of their stories and experiences with me. This caused me to think more about how losses connected to an illness affect an individual.
When an illness becomes part of your life it affects your entire life; mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The individuals directly involved may not tell you how they “really” feel, but here are some concerns worth considering.
Imagine, not being able to be involved with life as you once were; being misunderstood by family and friends. Having problems with mobility, hearing, speaking and more may go unnoticed by others. Not wanting to be a bother or a problem the individual and their family members may be silent sufferers.
Who chooses an illness? Who wants their life disrupted? Who wants to be isolated from society and the way life was? I don’t know about you, but I would not make this choice and the individuals who have an illness would have it different if they could.
I won’t go into the philosophical reason for an illness but I will ask you to be more open and accepting of the differences in others. If a friend cannot get around as easily as they did before, be patient with them. If your friend is not able to come to you, go to them.
Bring the outside world inside if you need to. Share your life with others. Illness is not death at least for many; not yet. The mind works great for many people with an illness and if it doesn’t the feel of a warm touch and a soft smile speaks volumes. Any one of us could be in this position someday or know someone who is.
As I read this article over I wonder as with many concerns individuals have in life; is this situation too close for some people? By this I mean, when you see someone else you know living with an illness do you wonder, what if that was me? What would I do? What would my family do?
Do you go to a spot of fear and panic deep inside of you? That uncomfortable spot that wants to put the brakes on and say “STOP”! “I cannot go there” may be the reason some people back away from those who need them the most at this time in their life.
I understand as do many others, but this is your chance to shine and step into your fears and be of service to someone else. This is where you become part of the change in your life and someone else’s.
Barbara J. Saunders is a grief counsellor/Thanatologist.
The next article is #13 Saying Good-bye