Lupus affects every aspect of my life. Yet, I rarely think about having the disease. The changes in diet, exercise, sleep, activity and exertion that I had to make 13 years ago have been so deeply integrated into my life that I have a hard time remembering what it was like before lupus. Every once in a while, God throws in a reminder. The latest came in the form of my Princeton University 20th Reunions.
I have returned to Central New Jersey to attend my 20th college reunion. In June 1996, my extended family converged on Princeton's campus to celebrate four long years of hard work. The three-day festivity was filled with special moments--watching my grandmother and godmother dance at the family prom, seeing my name on my department's cum laude list, sharing a HUGE Italian dinner with my roommates and our families, receiving an award for commitment to community service. I walked through FitzRandoph Gates twenty years ago ready to do my part to fulfill Princeton's unofficial motto: "In the nation's service."
I feel like I should be over Annie’s death by now. It happened four weeks ago after all. Since then, I have returned to work and am being productive once more. I have been spending lots of times with good friends and enjoying myself. I have returned to the gym and am back to eating healthy, raw foods most of the time. But if I am completely honest, I am still very sad.
I want to be happy. I want to be joyful. I want to be over my grief. But it shows up each morning when I open my eyes to start a new day. In those moments, I have a choice to make: acknowledge and accept that I am in a time of mourning, or pretend that everything is fine and plaster a fake smile on my face. I have chosen the former. The days of stuffing emotions and pretending to be okay are behind me. Despite my utter distaste for negative emotions, I am learning to embrace and appreciate them. Here are the other things I am celebrating this week, including the many great friendships I have been able to build:
I have been moving almost nonstop since Annie passed away three weeks ago. I had to let my clients know that I would be out of town and pack up my belongings for an extended trip. Then I drove to New York to help my mother and grandmother prepare for the services. A few days after the funeral, my mother and I got in the car once more to head to my nephew's college graduation in Greensboro, NC. Last Wednesday, I was back in New York for my aunt's retirement party. I wasn't trying to avoid my grief, but the nonstop movement definitely kept it away. Very early Friday morning, I shed my first tears for Annie, and they felt good. Here are the other things I am celebrating this week:
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.