“Have you been through any trauma recently?” the doctor asked me. My heart sank. The last 2 years brother, I thought to myself. I just nodded. “When we can’t find a physical cause, we chalk it up to being just something that happens and we don’t know why. But we can’t discount that there can be an emotional component to inflammation. It’s just not widely talked about”.
I nodded again, I understood this more than he knows.
Recently I experienced inflammation in my eye that was initially was thought to be simple pink eye, but snowballed into bloodwork for everything under the sun, and subsequently all negative. That’s a good and bad thing I suppose.
Monthly, I relive the trauma of Dad’s death because of a greater purpose which I can’t speak of now but it’s not hard to figure out, and that one day I will discuss in an effort to keep a promise: all of our patients deserve excellent care. While I know that if there was a method for coping with grief, especially traumatic grief, I have checked off all the boxes.
Working with a therapist. Massive self care. Exercise. Taking great care of myself. Allowing myself to process individually, with friends and with family. Check. check. check. But we know that there is no linear path and there really is no right or wrong way to process loss. And while our bodies may hold grief in certain ways, by breaking down, it doesn’t mean we are doing it wrong.
When my son was in preschool they learned a song that has always remained with me:
Mud. Mud. We love Mud!
We’re absolutely positively wild about mud!
You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it.
You can’t go around it!
You gotta go through it.
Mud. Mud. We love MUD!
From the second I heard that, it felt profound. I immediately knew the lesson. Everything we experience in life we have to experience 100% in order to absorb, process and move on. The positive, negative and everything in between. We have to feel all of it.
It’s tempting to want to numb the pain through any means. At the end of the day though, we have to get in and get dirty. Go through the fire to get to the other side. Sometimes it’s a giant fire, sometimes it’s the mini fires. Either way we have to feel that sting and that burn.
I think it’s safe to say though, that just as the good times pass quickly, the difficult times pass as well. All of it feels like weather. The storms pass, the sunshine passes. Tomorrow still comes, that sun still rises and still sets. Every day. So keeping a hopeful attitude, not allowing ourselves to get too up or too down (within reason) and allowing all of those extremely happy and extremely horrible moments pass through us, it seems important.