Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Acceptance" (in quotes)

Coming to grips again (again and again) with what "acceptance" really means.

There's a problem with "accepting" the changes I'm going through. And those quotes around "accepting" mean ever so many things...

Someone dies... you grieve, and because you go through that grief, you can come to acceptance. A you-thought-they-were-a-"loved one" tells you that "It's over," and you grieve, and because you go through that grief, you can come to acceptance.

But irreversible changes are just that—irreversible. They won't just up and undo themselves.

The Disease isn't like that.

It gets worse. Except when it doesn't. Except when it gets better. And then gets worse again. Except when it doesn't.

So... what, exactly, am I supposed to grieve? I haven't lost anything permanently. Except maybe I have. Or maybe I haven't. There's no knowing. If it comes back before I die... I guess I didn't really lose it, did I? Or if it doesn't come back before I die... I guess I really did lose it, didn't I?

I like to heap empty praise upon myself that I'm not living in the world of Vegas hopes... That I'm "accepting" (there go the quotes again) the truth of what's likely to happen. There's no reason that roulette ball won't land on the number you bet on—that's how "probability" works. It usually doesn't (which is why they're able to afford building and maintaining the Vegas Strip, because people mostly lose their bets), but there's no reason it can't. There's no reason why, if you flip a coin ten thousand times, it won't land on "heads" every time. It might. Probably won't... but it might. Because there's nothing actually, forcibly, stopping it from happening.

I'm not betting on M.S. evaporating. Really, I'm not. I'm not hoping/pretending that one day, I'm going to wake up and... find that it has just up and left. But somehow, I'm somehow also not willing to commit to it never improving.

I'm cleaning out my bookshelves at work. Some books are easy to let go of... that book on managing Windows 2000, that operating system's time has come and gone. It's over, as over as over gets. No tears there. A quiet laugh, a sigh, and into the "recycle" pile it goes.

The book on theater tech and management. Tips about hanging lights, building sets, managing things backstage. Stuff I used to do a lot of. And really, really enjoyed. It's very, very easy to "accept" my current condition; to say, "Well, I can't do that now, or for the foreseeable future. So it's OK to pass this on to someone who needs it."

But I can't... I can not bring myself to say, "This part of my life... is over."

I can choose to make that part of my life "over." I can choose not to do it any more. Or "ever again."

But that's different. Very... very... different.

This is why even though I can't play the organ... now... that I still have pictures of me at the console on this blog. I used to be a reasonably active percussionist. I still own a charming little Ludwig "jazz combo" drum set; it's sitting on a shelf somewhere, and I don't mind it doing that, because I don't feel the need to play set any more. I was never really a set player, although I could do it reasonably well. That part of my life, it was OK to say goodbye to... because I did it on my terms. I decided that it was over.

I didn't decide that my maternal grandfather would die. But his loss, I could grieve. And I could let him go.

But right now, there are many things that are being... removed from my life. For good? Don't know. For now? Oh, yes. But forever? Some of them yes, certainly, and their time may have come regardless of The Disease; but some of them... who knows?

And it's that ambiguity... that's the doorway through which I'm reaching, to cling desperately to the past... and through which doorway, extend my chains.

How the @$#? am I supposed to grieve ambiguity? Hell, if there's anything that one should be loath to grasp, it should be the ungraspable. And yet, it seems, to that I cling the most desperately.

I'm trying to see this as a gift of M.S. I know it is. I know it is. But... right now, I can't "accept" it.

Not yet.

And, I guess... that's the problem.


Judy at Peace Be With You said...

My therapist and I have an understanding. I acknowledge. He hears acceptance. We're both "happy." Acceptance is too loaded a term for me; not to mention, as you say, how hard it is to define anyway in the MS context. Once again, I am grateful for the mental stretching you trigger in me as you search for your "gifts of MS." Though, to be honest, a lot of times the process is unwelcomed. I suppose, in the end, you are living up to the Socratic value that “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Olivia said...

Ahhh, the gift. Wouldn't it be nice to kindly say no thank you?! Or better yet trade it for a different gift. I do my best to not look back. Meditations and yoga still the part that wants to rage and run. Hang in there.Olivia

Robert Parker said...

The interesting thing is... most of the time, I can spot a gift as a gift. I don't need to dig through the weeds to find the Easter Egg that (maybe) lays there hidden. Much of the time, I can see the "weed" as a plant with its own special charm that we just don't appreciate on its own terms. Sometimes, though, I have to look very, very hard, to see what benevolent lesson the universe is trying to present to me.

Because it's there. It always is. And if I don't see it, it's me not seeing it, not it not existing.

But, sometimes... it's hard.