If there was anyone reading this blog, they have more than likely evaporated into the unknown recesses of cyberspace. It's been nearly 8 months since my last post - weeks after my "cardiac event." And I am just now really understanding what has happened and how it is changing my life.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her magnificent work on grieving listed the seven stages of grief and loss. Here, in a nutshell is the "7 stages and how I've lived through them" over the past months.
Stage 1 - SHOCK and DENIAL:
Driving yourself to the ER is a sure sign that you are in denial. Even if the Regional Medical Center is less than 2 blocks away from your office. Sitting upright on a gurney in the ER Triage as the heart attack hits its crescendo only saying "ow...ow...something's happening." is denial. Pretending that you can get back to work 2 and a half weeks after said event and go to class and live life as normal is denial.
Stage 2 - PAIN and GRIEF:
You go from complete polar opposites - having NOT paid attention to any signs that your body was BLARING at you for months (if not years) to being aware of every tiny little beat of your heart. Deep remorse sets in as you realize that the dreams of being a marathon runner are now 86'd permanantly - heck who was I kidding in the first place? LOST has less twists and turns as you begin to get a grip on what just happened. You know that you're supposed to be changing your life and like a newly saved individual in your first of many "come to Jesus" moments the contents of your tiny shelf and frig become the homeless' feast du jour. Candies - gone. Crisps...gone. Eggs and red meat - gone. And so on and so on until your frig and pantry is worthy of Richard Simmons dropping in and doing a full on inspection!
Stage 3 - ANGER and BARGAINING:
The first trip to the grocery store on your own, after those incredibly wonderful meals from the people at your church are over is a sure sign that something's brewing. Of course, what's the first thing that catches your eyes? All the stuff that you have just sworn off religiously. Suddenly the bakery calls out with its earthy and sultry wonderfulness. There is this small ball of yuck growing in you as the anger beast beats down denial long enough for you to realize you're not in Kansas anymore. And it keeps on growing from there. Anger can be therapeutic - ask me how many glasses and plates have "accidently" broken of late? Go on-ask! Sigmund Freud surely would have a hey day with that! So after realizing that you're not able at the moment to completely restock the kitchen with the latest and greatest from Crate and Barrel the bargaining peeks in and in it's glory recreates your favorite "Deal or No Deal" episode. Do you take a bite of the forbidden fruit or hang onto what is in the suitcase which could be a million bucks? Hmmm. What will you do?
Stage 4- DEPRESSION, REFLECTION, LONLINESS:
Gloom, dispair and agony on me;
Deep dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all-
Gloom, dispair and agony on me.
That...I think sums it all up nicely.
Stage 5 - THE UPWARD TURN:
Poor Shelley Winters didn't have an upward turn on the Posseidon, but you do! You see a tiny bit of sunshine in your day as the clothes start to fit loser and you're actually able to make it through a cardiac rehab class without feeling like your chest is going to explode. Could this be the morning after?
Stage 6 - RECONSTRUCTION and WORKING THROUGH:
Whining is now a daily habit. You whine at how many pills you take. Whine at how much you "can't" eat, you whine about...oh wait - isn't that ANGER lurking around? Bad Anger - Bad, Bad, Bad! NO SOUP FOR YOU! Life ain't the bowl of chocolate moose track ice cream with crackle hard topping that you hoped it would be post event. Nope - it's worse! YIPPEE!! All your cracks are showing - and others are seeing them as well. Of course, let's just admit they saw them all the time now they are taking you up on the request to hold you accountable and gosh darn it - they love you! They really love you! Life begins to be a game of chutes and ladders as you start to think you've figured something out and quickly realize that you belong in the remedial class for heart patients. It seems like you're living your own groundhog day and can't seem to get back to your happy place. Oh wait - it's now DENIAL showing up again!!! Good grief! Sniff...Sniff...Sniff - you blubber for your old life, for your fun life, for your "it's got to be better than this" life. And when you've had enough of the pity party you climb off the throne and start to figure out just what everyone has been telling you for years. And you ask the all important question: "if they are still telling you the same thing post 'event' does that mean you still have yet to figure it out?" (Short answer - Yes.)
Stage 7 - ACCEPTANCE and HOPE:
So life has given you a second chance. Really, the Creator has let you ride the merrie-go-round of life one more ride. Maybe even more! Your ears are finally starting to listen to what your heart has been telling you all along - one beat at a time. Leave juggling balls to the pros - life has an absolute number of balls that one can have in the air at all times. Spend time smelling the roses - heck plant a few and learn how to take care of them. Remember the 12 steps, the golden rule, all the stuff you learned in Kindergarten. Eventually you'll get the hang of things as long as you remember you're not the one in the driver's seat. Oh yes and the most important tip of all - breathe.