Monday, 14 August 2017 19:08

Grace Under Pressure

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Grace comes into the soul, as the morning sun into the world;
first a dawning, then a light; and at last the sun in his full and excellent brightness.
Thomas Adams

On Sunday we attended the memorial of Kevin’s uncle who died after a long battle with cancer. Graham was being cared for in the Frail Care Centre of a local Home for the Aged. From the day he arrived he was bedridden and the last six months of his life was lived out of one bed, in one small room. This is a brutal experience for anyone, but for a sportsman who’d run fifteen Comrades Marathons, and completed thirty-eight Dusi Canoe Races, I cannot imagine what it was like to be paralysed and confined to such a small space.

Nerve and bone pain are amongst the most difficult to manage at the end of life and Graham endured excruciating pain as the nurses struggled to keep him comfortable. At his memorial, we heard stories from people who'd only met Graham during his last six, and most difficult, months. From within this one room, the nurses, physiotherapist, doctor and fellow residents told us of the impact Graham had on their lives. It was extraordinary to hear.

Despite his own pain and suffering, he guided, supported, influenced and motivated a steady stream of visitors who came to sit at his bedside. We heard of his powerful presence, generosity of spirit, positivity and the dogged determination and perseverance that made him the man he was.

I spent much of the last three weeks of Graham’s life with him and witnessed first-hand the grace with which he handled severe pain and physical suffering. It has had a profound effect on me. During the most difficult time of his life, Graham shone in his ‘full and excellent brightness’. It made me wonder where this grace comes from?

Many of us will only know what we are truly capable of in those moment when we are called on to face our worst fears. Will I be one of the people with the strength to endure the most extreme suffering? I don’t know. I hope I never have to find out.

In the meantime, I’m making an effort to endure the small discomforts of my life with more grace. The word 'grace' denotes poise, a type of elegance in facing tough situations with dignity, even when it’s unfair or we are being treated badly... especially when it’s unfair and we are treated badly.

In this way, the small moments of chaos that happen within our day become the training ground for building strength. Instead of running away, we learn to cope with the discomfort we usually try so hard to avoid. As we stop struggling with what we are experiencing, we are able to see it more clearly and, I hope, learn to relax with what is happening.

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Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching

I'm a Personal Development Life Coach who specialises in L.I.F.E (Living Into your Fullest Expression). Based in Richards Bay, on the East Coast of South Africa, I live with my long-suffering husband, (his description!), two much-loved dogs and care for my elderly father who has Alzheimer's.

Read more about me here.

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Comments  

# Elizabeth O 2017-08-19 10:10
We have different struggles in life. But we need to be strong no matter how hard it is. In the end, we will be blessed and become stronger than before. Awesome post.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-22 06:42
Thanks Eizabeth. It's true, so often we find strength through hard experiences.
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# Sheri 2017-08-18 10:53
It is always hard to watch someone else go through great pain, especially loved ones. I hope he is now in peace.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-22 06:41
It is hard, Sheri, and I hope so too.
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# London Mumma 2017-08-17 18:01
I am truly sorry that you had to experience this situation.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-22 06:40
Thanks London Mumma.
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# Via Bella 2017-08-17 17:30
End of life pain can be amongst the more painful to experience and watch. I am sorry you had to experience that.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-17 17:51
Thanks, Bella. It was hard on the family.
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# Angela Milnes 2017-08-17 14:29
Sorry to read this. times like these can be difficult but it's great to share as it can help others in similar experiences.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-17 17:39
Thanks, Angela. I hope someone somewhere gains some strength from hearing Graham's story.
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# Mayuri 2017-08-17 09:22
This is such a relatable post as I saw my grandfather suffering back pain and was bedridden for a long time. Being in pain is not easy...it makes you little bitter and exhausts you mentally. But I admire, how he influenced and inspired others.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-17 17:38
I have heard how crippling back pain can be and being bed ridden for a long time is sheer hell. Your poor grandfather.
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# Made Adayasa 2017-08-17 06:57
Im sorry for your loss . His suffering is over and he is happy now . It's almost the same what my father had . He was suffering almost 1 year before he died . I can feel how you feel when taking care of your uncle .

Wish you all the best
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-17 17:37
It must have been awful to go through that with your dad. I'm sorry to hear it, a year is such a long time.
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# Prateek Goel 2017-08-16 15:42
Ohh, I can;t image the pain he was going through. Surely, he was suffering a lot, and now I think his pain is over. getting bedridden for so long is pathetic. He seemed to be a fantastic man.
Nice post.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 16:39
Thanks Prateek.
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# Aditi 2017-08-16 14:01
It is not an easy thing to be that positive when so much is going around. He was a strong and loving human being, thanks for sharing his last journey with us.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 16:40
It isn't easy at all, Aditi. I think that's why it was such a powerful experience for me.
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# yukti 2017-08-16 13:16
Very strong man who suffered so much and showed no pain through his actions. Really a lesson learnt in life that whatever may be situation is, We should handle it gracefully and patiently.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 16:41
Hear, hear. To grace and patience!
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# Ania Travels 2017-08-16 12:16
I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how painful it must have been but am glad you got to spend time with him before he passed, that is so important.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 16:42
Thanks Ania. It was such a reminder of what's important. I hope I remember.
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# Claire 2017-08-16 08:02
I really think in these situations, the best way is to look at the positive side of things. It's such a motivational post!
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 16:43
Thanks, Claire. It was such lesson that no matter what is happening there is still some positive to be found.
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# jhilmil 2017-08-16 02:45
Such a lovely post, we really need to build endurance, strength and learn to shine even when in pain. getting bedridden for so long is pathetic, but I salute his spirits of being at his best even then.

www.mommyinme.com
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 05:23
What a beautiful comment, Jhilmil, I too salute his spirit.
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# Ana De- Jesus 2017-08-16 01:40
I hope that he is in peace now that his suffering is over. I can't imagine how much pain he was in so sad but beautiful that he nevertheless kept positive for others and gave them guidance x
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 05:22
It was such a powerful experience, Ana, one I hope changes me for the better.
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# BeateLookbook 2017-08-15 17:28
I suffered from terrible back pain for many years and it truly is horrible to suffer from pain.. Wishing the best for you and your family.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 05:19
I'm sorry to hear it Beate, I think anyone who has suffered chronic pain has a different perspective to the rest of us. You said 'suffered', I hope that means your pain has improved now.
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# howtodiyempire 2017-08-15 16:00
This made me so sad.. I can't imagine being bedridden for so long..
I hope to be like Graham one day, setting my discomfort aside and leaving such a mark on people. He seemed like a really good man.
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# Tania Potter - Soul Sense Coaching 2017-08-16 05:18
He was incredibly strong, both mentally and physically, it was quite somethign to see.
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