We had to make an unexpected visit home to Texas this past week due to a loss in our immediate family. The loss has left a hole that can not ever be filled. When a life is cut short it has a unique impact on the generations above and below it, leaving a gap that impacts the young and old.
The grief process is incredibly complex when you consider there are 5 stages to it: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, & acceptance (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross). It would be less complex if everyone processed them at the same pace, but the fact is not everyone experiences all 5 stages and it is normal to bounce back and forth between phases before finally reaching a permanent acceptance. This places strain on relationships and communication when everyone is at a different place. This is where utter graciousness is needed. It takes time to cope and process all of the emotions and everyone needs time to heal. God help us all right now.
The week left us emotionally and physically exhausted so my husband and I decided to spend a weekend away to reflect. We chose a micro-resort in Ft. Worth, Texas that was created and designed by Tim Love (competitor on Iron Chef). It is called Hotel Otto and consists of bungalows and a swimming pool made from shipping containers. His restaurant on site is “Gemelles” and was built and dedicated to his twin daughters. It was a wonderful experience and we had time to process a little bit of our loss.
I think Gus had it right in Lonesome Dove when he said “The best thing you can do for death is ride off from it.” But sometimes it is best to spend some time to reflect on it. I believe that is what God had in mind for me this week because halfway through the trip I began to feel an inflammatory response to the atmospheric dust/dander and molds (my allergy triggers). However, the s/s got worse and by the time I got home, what I thought was an allergic response was actually the COVID. I am now at home quarantined without my sense of smell. That is probably the most difficult part. My sense of smell has always been astute and I am very reliant on it. I am the first one to smell the trash, the litter box, a dog (or someone) that needs a bath, an infection (and it’s identity). I once smelled the sweet scalp of one of my patients and it had the scent of rising bread dough. This is how I knew that she had a systemic fungal infection, even before the lab results came back. I can only hope this is a temporary loss or that I can adapt somehow.
I feel like I am in limbo right now and that is not comfortable for me. I always struggle when things are uncertain. I guess it is an opportunity for growth and that is how I should perceive it. I know there is something that I can learn from all of this, I just need time to process…….