This has been a difficult and depressing week. A friend was diagnosed at age 45 with an aggressive lymphoma in her chest and although the prognosis is positive, there's still the residue of shock and disbelief to wipe off as she tries to move forward with a life that's been forever changed thanks to a medical diagnosis.
My Facebook news feed has been filled with heartbreaking posts from friends who've experienced the recent loss of parents, pals and pets. Each new post announcing a loss results in a flurry of sympathetic comments and the sharing of similar stories of pain.
My firm laid off ten fine people. Now those individuals have the task of trying to understand what happened and why they were the ones culled in what has been hazily called a "reallocation of resources". Very few things sting as much as unexpectedly losing one's job. There's a great deal of anxiety, anger, denial and varying degrees of Elizabeth Kubler Ross' stages of grief.
WWBKD (What Would Bruce Kramer Do?)
Bruce Kramer thought a lot about loss in his life with ALS. ALS, the horror that it is, takes everything away. Losses are layered one on top the other. What was instructive to me was watching Bruce handle these losses. He mourned each of them, from giving up driving to not being able to hold a spoon and ultimately feed himself and many, many more heartbreaking ones in between culminating with the ultimate loss. We humans hate to lose anything. Loss is scary. We mourn loss. But loss is the nature of life.
Bruce had the uncanny ability to replace loss with something that was transformative, transcendent really...something that lifted him beyond what he was before. He'd mourn the loss, accept and embrace it, then move beyond it, learning and growing from that loss. He kept that up until his last breaths.
Since we all experience loss, I wonder how our lives can be changed if we can follow Bruce Kramer's lead and learn to replace the barren feelings of loss and its underpinnings of sadness and despair and transform our losses into something that builds us beyond what we were?
The Blog Authors
Bruce started writing about living with ALS shortly after being diagnosed in 2010. The blog is called the "Dis Ease Diary."
Cathy is a journalist so she's used to writing. Blogging is different because it feels so personal and that can be scary. Bear with her. She'll figure it out!
You may hear from Ev from time to time. Ev is Bruce's beloved wife. She's a music teacher at a French immersion school.