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I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea, the concept, of grief especially as it relates to life with a chronic condition.

I’m generally a happy person. I don’t let much stop me from appreciating what I have instead of what I want or wish I had. Life is good…most of the time.

But I can’t deny that since getting sarcoidosis, I do find myself in a constant state of quiet but unceasing grief. It’s another one of those things that doesn’t show on the outside. It is invisible.

I suspect we all carry it, no matter our circumstances, to one degree or another. I just notice it more now that I have sarcoidosis. It’s still quiet, but less so. It’s harder to ignore for the simple fact that I now cry at the drop of a hat and I never used to do that.

My iron clad facade is no longer without dents. In fact, I think it has been pierced in some ways.

So, I grieve. I grieve the loss of bodily function. I am not strong anymore. I grieve the loss of my career. I do not work any more. I grieve the loss of a once sharp mind that is now dulled by this disease. There are times I don’t feel like I know myself anymore.

So I grieve.

I am changed. But there is something about grief, despite the depth of its sorrow or perhaps even because of its misery and heartache, that brings an opportunity for change. Grief makes room for a new perspective. It may not actually make things better but it does help me adapt and as I do, I find creative ways to open my heart and mind to the glory and preciousness of life.

Grief brings with it a chance to blossom into something different. Without grief, I would remain stuck, isolated and alone in regret and woe, fear and pain.

So I grieve.

And it hurts but I do it anyway. I say goodbye to the parts of me that sarcoidosis has taken and in doing this, I am able to see the parts of me sarcoidosis has awakened or even created.

I am softer. I am no longer quick to judge what I can’t see or don’t understand. I am more tolerant.

I do not take my life for granted. I do not waste time on “what ifs” or “could have beens.”. I no longer regret anything. I have learned the art of acceptance. And, part of that art is the ability to grieve.

I miss who I used to be but I cannot change that she is gone.

So I grieve and I grieve so that I can live.