My father was many things to many people, but to me he was just daddy. And he was my hero.
This Father’s Day is quite poignant for me, as I lost my father two weeks ago now. The last words he said to me just a few days before that were, “Happy Birthday,” and then he drifted off to sleep for a few days. While his passing was expected given the 7 months he spent in hospice care, the loss did not hurt any less. So today, Father’s Day, I will spend quietly mourning the loss of my dad, remembering all the great times we had, and celebrating my husband for the father he is to our two kids.
Dad didn’t want a funeral or a fuss. We had a small memorial to honor him, and so the family could come together and share stories. My oldest brother gave the service and led us in songs. My older brother put together a slide show of a lifetime of memories. And I gave the eulogy. Afterwards we had a wonderful meal and there I was, taking dad’s place, and giving a toast.
Dad’s eulogy was the hardest thing I have ever sat down to write. It was even harder to give. But today, I want to share it.
“Never let the things you can’t do, stop you from doing what you can.”
Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was yesterday, but it’s also recognized for the entire month of May. Fibromyalgia Syndrome is marked by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and sleeping problems. The result of this is often that those of us with it are a shell of our former selves, too fatigued or in pain to carry on the life we once led.
While running marathons may no longer be in our wheelhouse, let’s not forget there are still plenty of things we can do and enjoy in life. We may have to adapt or take things in moderation, but that doesn’t mean we have to live a life of loneliness and isolation.
“Never let the things you can’t do stop you from doing what you can.”
Just like Ferris Bueller says at the end of the movie, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” So my fellow fibrowarriors, my hope for you is that you find something you can do so you can enjoy the life you have.
Living with chronic condition like Fibromyalgia can be anything but joyful most days of the week. You are in pain, tired, and can be experiencing a myriad of other symptoms at any one time. And you often feel alone.
Then there’s the fact that you usually have to explain to people just what the heck Fibromyalgia Syndrome is and the fact that there is no good understanding of what causes it, thus there’s no cure as of yet. This alone can spin you into a life of social separation and loneliness.
It is widely believed that artist Frida Kahlo also would have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, if there had been that diagnosis during her time. Her art depicts chronic pain and her diaries reflect a life filled with physical and emotional pain. Yet, she continued to do what she loved, which was to paint, and toward the end of her life she turned her attention to capturing everyday existence.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” Frida Kahlo
April is Stress Awareness Month. Is it a coincidence that it coincides with one of the major stressors in American’s lives? (Tax Day) We all face every day stressors such as our commute, our jobs, paying bills, raising kids. But then there are those other things that compound and have longer lasting effects on you. Perhaps you have finals coming up or a work deadline or family troubles or maybe you’re battling a chronic condition or illness. Or perhaps you have a combination of many stressors in your life.
Stress can be positive – it’s what activates your fight or flight mechanism, or helps you to meet a deadline – or negative. It’s the negative stress that has a detrimental impact on your health and can show up in many ways – over/under eating, not sleeping, acne, physical ailments like stomach or heart issues, and flares of chronic conditions like fibromyalgia. Learning to cope with these burdens so that they don’t build up can make a huge difference in your health.
It has been linked to a wide range of health issues, including mood, sleep, and appetite problems — and yes, even heart disease.