Dear Ms. Meniscus,

My mother died two years ago but I can’t seem to get on with my life. I was diagnosed with RA when I was in my teens and, she was always there for me. I’m 27 now, not married and don’t have much of a social life. I’d like to move on but I’m emotionally stuck.

Sad in Tucson

Dear Sad in Tucson,

Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother. At any age, whether 27 or 67, it never gets easier to deal with the death of a parent or other influential character in your life. Even if it happened two years ago, it is perfectly acceptable for it to weigh heavily on your mind when thinking back on losing your mother, a central and supporting person in your development.

What’s not OK, is for this loss to stop you from living your life. Everyone grieves in different ways, so there’s no canned answer I can give you that will help you move on, but I can offer some ideas on how to start this process.

Try talking it out. Sometimes, the pain of loss can cause a person to isolate themselves. Is your dad still around? If so, he might be a good place to start, as he may be able to relate with your feelings of her death more than others. If your social life was healthy before her death, but you pushed away friends after, you may consider picking up the phone and contacting them. Granted, they may be a bit upset or confused as to why you disappeared, but a true friend will understand if you explain what you have been going through. You may even be surprised. They might tell you they’ve been waiting for your call.

If these options don’t apply to you, you may consider seeking out a local bereavement group or grief counseling. These can be found in many local hospitals or churches. If not, they may be able to refer you if you call them up. Grief counselors are trained professionals that have the tools to help you move on. Bereavement groups provide an environment where you can share your story with others and hear how they may be coping with a similar situation as yours.

You might be able to meet and build a friendship from people in these support-groups, but there are other platforms for meeting others for social interaction. You may find that you relate with people who also have RA or other autoimmune conditions. Support groups for this probably exist in Tucson, but most definitely online. Sites like CreakyJoints provide communities for people with arthritis. Seeing that you already know about us means you’re on the right track already!

The internet and social media have made a huge impact on health care and has even influenced how the conversation on health care is being molded by law makers. This is because it has empowered those with chronic illnesses by connecting people with others that share their disease and allowed them to not only create a sense of community, but to share information about their disease with each other that might may not have known otherwise. Many times, doctors are too busy to sit down with each patient and discuss all the aspects of their condition. Also, new information and studies are constantly coming out. You may learn about a new RA treatment before your doctor because of the internet! Of course, be smart about information you come across on the internet and check the sources. While there is a lot of good information online, there is a lot of disinformation that exists as well. Consult with your doctor when it comes to your treatment.

If you haven’t already, join the conversation with other members on CreakyJoints’ Facebook page, and follow on Twitter, We make sure to provide members with the latest news and even alerts on arthritis.

Of course, no one could ever replace your mother, but connecting with others might be a first step on your path. Moving on doesn’t mean that your mother’s memory has been lost, but it means that you can learn to cherish the good memories and happy times you spent together; because in the end, those are the moments that really mattered.

— M

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