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Complaints – A Universal Human Experience

Lynne, my wife of 31 years, lost her life to glioblastoma in 2010 after a nearly four-year battle with the deadly disease. Glioblastoma is a stage 4 brain tumor, known for its fast-growing and recurrent properties. As her primary caregiver, I have learned a great deal about illness and other issues related to caring for someone facing a life-threatening illness. This article covers the topic of tort, a topic that is relevant to each of us at some point in our lives. I hope the lessons I learned help someone else navigate through the complaint process.

Grievance is a universal human experience that will affect all of us at some point in our lives. Although grief is universal, each person prepares for grief, experiences grief, and recovers from grief in unique ways. There are guiding principles that we can apply to our complaint, but your recovery is unique to your circumstance. You can judge yourself. You may feel like you recovered from the pain too quickly. You may feel that his grief lasts too long. Just keep in mind that your complaint is as individual as you are, and so is your recovery. It is also natural to believe that others are judging your complaint. While that may be the case, your complaint is your path, which can look very different compared to someone else’s path.

My grief process began at the time of Lynne’s diagnosis, not her death. The week following her diagnosis, I spent almost every night in tears and agonizing over the future that lay ahead. Thoughts of unfulfilled dreams and goals ran through my mind numerous times throughout the day. As I researched the disease, the certainty of Lynne’s eventual death came to the fore in my mind. I tried to balance those thoughts with the hope that Lynne’s case might be different in some way, but it was an internal struggle.

Like any couple, we clung to the hope that our plans for the future would remain intact. We talk about goals throughout our marriage about retirement. We share about the continued ability to travel. We share thoughts about the pleasure of watching grandchildren grow up. We talk about our dreams of a slower-paced life in hopes of enjoying the simpler things in life. Those kinds of things we tend to take for granted in our younger years as we focus on building our lives and careers. In one day, the plans and dreams we made together seemed to shatter like glass hitting a tile floor. Lost forever with no chance to reassemble the glass.

About six years earlier, due to my responsibilities as a deacon at Sun Valley Church of Christ, I enrolled in a course to help me improve my skills and abilities as a people helper. As a people helper, people often approached me to share their personal struggles. I wanted a better knowledge base to help guide them through their struggles. Some of the classes within that course of study helped prepare me for what was to come in my own life. One class covered forgiveness, letting go of the past, and pain. Another covered marriage and keeping love alive. Another covered pain and suffering, learning how to help people in a hurting world. Another covered managing stress and anxiety. The most important class that would influence my own future was a class on grievances and loss. While my intention was to learn about these issues to help others, the importance of that learning helped me understand the emotional turmoil I was facing and some techniques to help me manage the pain.

Grievance is a universal human experience. However, the experience is unique to each individual. In some ways, my recovery from complaints was helped by learning from other people and I hope that by sharing my personal experience, others will benefit as well. I am writing several articles covering various aspects of the grieving process, including grievance models, anticipating grievances, and preparing for grievances.

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