“Do you ever cry?” asked the blue-suited banker as our formal lunch segued from spreadsheets to stories.
“I had a very dark weekend when I was first diagnosed.” Reflexively, I share the story of the weekend after my Thursday diagnosis almost five years ago. In truth, I barely cried then – the reality of the diagnosis left me more numb than weepy.
“Do you ever cry?” The question spins in my head.
Occasionally, my tears flow. When I see yet another skill diminish my eyes well up with thoughts of what used to be. I type quickly, but not at the near warp speed of a court stenographer that was my habit before my left hand trembled. I rage at the unfairness of my Parkie plight and give into my worst degenerative fears. I spit fury between my tears.
I am a privileged Parkie. I have less right to complain than most — those with and without maladies, whether chronic or acute. While this observation is objective fact, it is moot. Regardless of circumstance, grief is a reasonable response to a lousy diagnosis. Everyone has a right to grieve because, sometimes, that damned glass is half empty. It can be half full later. Focus on that empty space and let those mascara-running tears flow. A weep-o-rama is cathartic.
Life is unfair. It slaps all of us silly in varied and vicious ways. It is what it is. So why cry about it? Because sometimes if we just let something sucking suck, wallow in its unholy unfairness and dwell at the less-and-less full glass, we find the clarity to see the half that is full.
So yeah, I do cry. Not often or for long. But I do. And in so doing, I acknowledge the insults my body thrusts upon me, the regime of daily medication and the various other manifestations of this disease which for now are inconvenient but will hinder me further as time and disease progress. Or not. Because I do choose hope. I choose exercise. I choose participation in a clinical study. I choose science and fish oil and I am trying to choose salad over starch more often too.
Whatever your “it” is I’m sorry you are so afflicted. I’m sorry that millions of us are quarantined. And, regardless of where you’re holed up, don’t discount the toll of this lifesaving mandate; every event, every connection missed is a cry-worthy loss. So, let it just suck when your heart tells you it must. It does suck. It is unfair. But it is. Have that tantrum – if you’re me, do it solo; witnesses and/or offers of comfort would make me feel worse. Regardless whether you’re solo or if you’re surrounded by others who may or may not bear witness, this is your sucky time – so let it suck, suck, suck. Your rage, your way. Rage at God, the universe, whomever. Everyone and everything are to blame. Rage at them all.
Then move on. Don’t dwell on a lousy hand – play with what you’re dealt. Every life is filled with tripping hazards – sometimes you’ll stumble, sometimes they’ll knock you down. You’ve just got to get up more often than you fall to win at this game of life.
Move on from the Self-Pitying-Suckhole. Life will only suck as much as you let it. Choose what you can control. Choose faith. Choose hope. For better or worse, until you breathe your last, there is always hope.