~ To suffer ~To be sorrowful ~To feel sad, be sad ~To be upset ~To feel hurt ~Afflicted ~Depressed Grief is often related to and thereby put into a category of death and dying. However, grief covers so much more than our expression over the loss of a loved one. I was reading tonight a verse from Nehemiah 8:10 which says, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. ” Grieving can be an every day part of life for someone with a chronic disease like Parkinson's disease. The first occasion to experience grief is upon diagnosis. You realize that from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same. There was no physical death, but eventually you realize that life from that day forward will be looked upon differently. Some days will be looked upon with grief in the form of sadness and sorrow while others will be met with smiles and laughter. Our path will not have necessarily changed, but we will face it with different emotions. People who live with a chronic illness can be easily upset with life if they feel they've been dealt a hand they don't deserve or refuse to accept. This is a form of grieving in the way of anger and of asking why. Why me? Why this? Why now? (As pondered in the justified mind of a Young/Early Onset Parkinson's patient.) The why's of life can often be hard to understand and make sense out of, leaving a person grief-stricken. This can often lead to a deep sadness or depression and we've learned that depression is one part of the whole picture that patients often have to deal with, therefore it is wise to seek treatment if you are in this stage of grief. You may be waiting for a good day to come and if you're fighting depression along with all the other challenges PD has to offer, it may not come. Affliction comes in several different ways through Parkinson's disease. Pain, tremors, lack of balance, difficulty swallowing, and the list goes on and on. Each day we encounter different 'tests' this disease seems to give. Loss of balance leads to falling. Tremors lead to withdrawl. Pain leads to lack of energy. Difficulty swallowing leads to loss of appetite. The list of afflictions goes on and on. We can feel slightly pricked or punched hard in the gut, depending on the severity of the test. It's a state of misery that leaves you feeling helpless, sometimes hopeless and hopeless is such a dark place to be. There is hope. I started this out with a verse that I had read today. 'Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.' It's not always easy. Life as we once knew it has changed and some days have been replaced with deep sorrow over what we have or may lose. Anticipation has been replaced with anxiousness and fear. Fear of the 'what ifs'. Borrowing trouble from tomorrow. That's what that is. Instead, 'do not grieve'. Do not be saddened or sorrowful. The Lord's joy will be your strength. His joy will build you up through this trial called PD and keep you from falling into darkness. That's such a better place to be – living in His joy and leaving the grieving behind – at least for a while.