Sunday, August 23, 2020

Growing with Acceptance



Growing with Acceptance
By Jeanette Davidson

Turning Losses into Gains

Initially, in the early days after my stroke, I felt like I LOST so much of myself and my capabilities. I couldn't read, I couldn't write, I couldn't use the computer, cook a meal, or do laundry. Most importantly, I couldn't think or process information. Working was not an option. I felt like I deserted 90 of my bereavement clients from my job at Hospice. They were grieving the loss of a loved one and now they lost me, their therapist. So I was not only dealing with the loss of my health, but the loss of my career. On a few occasions, I would cover the surface of my nightstand with piles of tear filled tissues. I was stunned, shook, frightened. Anxiety was my core driver as I would wallow in self-pity and doubt.

I barely allowed myself space to grieve, because I felt so afraid that if I met my grief head on it would envelop me entirely. I felt like I went from 49 years old to 70 years old overnight.

Then as time progressed, little by little, I saw my attitude changing. I began to love having the mornings to relax and sip tea on my patio without having to rush off to work. I started writing a daily gratitude journal, documenting all the little things in my life that brought me joy. Living in the present moment became something I cherished. I found myself having time to listen and have quality time with the people who mattered the most to me. I had perspective, empathy, and love that I wanted to share with others. My stroke began to take on a different meaning. It no longer defined me. I made this list as a reminder to myself of all the things I now can do since my stroke.

- Be courageous
- Overcome
- Be empathetic
- Be still
- Embrace every moment
- Live and value everything and everyone in my life
- Be a joy seeker
- Believe
- Have perspective
Value the wow of now

So eventually, my life became not about all the things that I had lost, but all the things that I had GAINED, deep within myself. I gradually learned that letting go is really about accepting the truth of what has happened. Once I was able to accept, many of the gifts of my stroke began to follow. I believe that illnesses and challenges show up in our lives to remind us to love and live more fully. There are always challenges we still continue to face, but on most days I focus on the gains and count my blessing as I begin each new day with hope and gratitude.

I wish you the same!

Copyright ©September 2014
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
All rights reserved.

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