Grieve

Tom Graboys, M.D.
taught at Harvard.
He was regarded as
a leading cardiologist
not just in Boston
but in the U.S.
Then at the height of his illustrious career
he developed Parkinson’s Disease
and Lewy body dementia.
He continued his practice for a short while,
but then he had to relinquish this work
that meant the world to him.
In his memoir, Life in the Balance,
he recounts the many changes he’s now making.
He writes not just about himself
but about his caregiving wife too:
“In the summer of 2006, unbeknownst to me until recently, Vicki called my office just to hear the message on my voice-mail, a message I recorded long before the slowness descended, just to hear the voice of the old Tom. She grieves, as I do, the person I used to be.”

A person with a progressive disease
will grieve their associated losses
as the incapacitation runs its course.
This also holds true for anyone close to them,
including any caregiving family member.
The person who’s suffering the debilitation
can no longer do what they once did
or be as they once were,
and that’s sad.
Similarly, the life the two have shared
can no longer be the same either.
In such a situation
grief is a very natural response.
This is as true for the caregiver
as for their care partner.
Any grief, of course, can be painful.
This particular sort of grief
can be unexpectedly sad.
But it’s important to remember
that such grieving is not bad for you.
It’s not wrong.
It’s certainly not unhealthy.
It’s not at all unloving.
Indeed, it is because we caregivers
love as much as we do
that we may grieve as much as we do.
Our love and our grief are interconnected.

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2 Responses to “Grieve”

  1. Deb Says:

    I so enjoy your writings. I have a bookmark I received some time ago I don’t remember form where, it says- “Grief is not a sign of weakness, Nor a lack of faith. It is the price of love.”
    I made copies and send it in sympathy cards.
    Deb

  2. Karen Montieth Says:

    You are a treasure…. I find wisdom and comfort in your words and photos. Thank you for sharing them.

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