This past New Years Eve, I learned that my older sister was dying of terminal cancer and only had weeks to live. In response, I have been anticipating in my grief. This isn't the first death in my family - nor will it be the last.
However, it certainly puts things in perspective for me. As an individual with a disability, I have come to believe in a relatively short time that those who are chronically ill and/or disabled in some way tend to sympathize more with the individual who is actually passing than the grieving family members. It's not easy to stomach such a blow - on a personal level or a collective one. Humans are afraid of death. We are afraid of the physical pain and of the emotional anguish afterwards. Yet from my research, western society in particular tends to box in grief in our modern time period - as it does most things which it is unfamiliar with - such as disability and the people who endure them. We want the event that causes the grief over and done within a fixed time period - much like society wants to fix the cause of whatever effect it deems as not normal. However, in today's modern society, grief - much like all things in life - is a force akin to water. It ebbs and flows and everyone will handle it at some point or another. It's how we handle it that determines our strength.
In saying that, I will admit that due to the sudden turn in events - and the lack of sleep due to it - I did stay home from work today. I would not allow my career to be affected by bouts of tears or lack of sleep. I guess that's another thing my sister has taught me recently: No matter what the cost, it's always alright to take a step back and simply breathe.