Can We Feel Gratitude and Grief?
Yesterday, an old friend (in time not age) shared a clip from Glennon Doyle’s instagram page. We are huge fans of Glennon Doyle and her wife Abby Wambach in our house but had somehow missed this particular video. What I love the most about Glennon is how she makes us think about hard things and laugh in equal measure. The clip that my friend shared yesterday was about grief. Please take a few minutes to click here and watch Glennon explain it to you but the gist is that we are all grieving right now and that is ok.
I firmly believe that we have to be positive and grateful for what we do have if we are going to get through this but… I had a dream last night after watching Glennon speak. This dream led me to know that I am not only grateful but also really sad and angry and that is ok.
I dreamt that I arrived at my retina surgeon’s office for my last pre-op appointment and the receptionist pointed at a note on the sign-in sheet. The note was written in tiny cursive writing. I couldn’t read it at all. When I told her that my vision was blurry and I couldn’t understand the message, she just kept pointing at it despite my protests. After a long time and lots of frustration on my part, in a whisper that I could barely hear, she told me that all appointments and surgeries for the next two days would be subject to a massive Passover up-charge of tens of thousands of dollars. I have no idea what Passover had to do with anything so this remains the part of the dream that could deal with some analysis. But anyway, the receptionist recommended that I reschedule my surgery. I stormed out of the office and called Rob screaming. When I woke up, I was so mad at my surgeon that I could still feel my fists curled up in anger.
Now back to the real world. I was scheduled for my last eye surgery on March 19th. On March 15th, all elective surgeries in New York were canceled. I’ve spent a lot of time being positive about this situation. If I was going to press pause during this year’s long eye journey, this really was the best place to do it. Both my retinas are fully attached and I have perfect vision in my left eye. Thank goodness for all that. But you know what? In my right eye, I have a huge cataract (a normal side effect of retinal surgery) and still a tiny gas bubble (also a normal result of my last retinal surgery) that both require surgery. As a result of all this, my vision is really incredibly poor. In addition, I have dry eyes caused by drops I am still on and will be on until I can have this surgery. I can only read really large fonts and sometimes by the end of the day (eyes get drier as the day goes on), I have to give up on reading all together because my vision is so blurry. I have the font enlarged on my phone and have to pre-type everything in a google doc where I can type in an 18 font. I then copy and paste what I have written to emails or Facebook or my blog or really wherever I need to share written information. If driving at night were still a thing, I would have to patch my right eye because the cataract combined with headlights and street lights causes double vision. Because of the gas bubble, I am still limited to what types of exercise I can do. Needless to say, all this is not ideal. Better than it could be, I keep reminding myself, buf far from ideal.
Watching Glennon yesterday and having this dream last night, made me realize just how much we all really are grieving right now. I hope I can find a balance over these next few weeks (I’m still refusing to say months) between gratitude and grief. I know this is a tricky place to be but I am up for the challenge. Gratitude and grief? Can these two emotions really live side by side? I guess it’s time to figure that out. Anyone with me?
Aww Stacey I am sorry you are going through such trials with your vision. My husband has a lot of challenges with his vision, and it sometimes adds a whole other level of exhaustion to his day. I too am experiencing a bone weary sadness and grief as well as recognizing how fortunate I am to have my family under one roof, so far healthy and well.. I found the Passover theme in your dream interesting because the theme of the sedar is one of duality, freedom amidst suffering. Compassion amidst pain. The groom at a Jewish wedding breaks a glass to remind us that although life is joyful , there is always bittersweet moments as well. Life is both. We have to acknowledge both, they can exist at the same time..