Good Grief (Yes, it can be good!)

Grief is a part of love and life. Those dealing with COPD experience grief at all stages of the disease.

Living with COPD


You will start to mourn the loss of your previous mobility and ability to breathe. You may not be aware that you are starting to withdraw from social activities and may not be able to pinpoint the cause of your overall sadness, fatigue, and or depression.

As you enter into discussions with your Dr. about your symptoms and start the whirlwind of testing for a condition that you may have chosen to keep at bay is now knocking at your door of diagnosis.


To hear the phrase spoken out loud that you have COPD literally takes your breath away. It is other-worldly to speak that statement to your family or friends in the first person.

COPD does not get better or go away as it is a progressive disease that has peaks and valleys, setbacks, and comebacks.


As your treatment becomes a vital part of your survival, you tire of thinking and applying the restrictions to your day-to-day. I watched my mom get agitated more at the reality of her increasing limitations and struggles with dips in her mood that made it hard for her to put in minimal effort some days.

Just as she felt a comeback emerge, she would get a cold that wouldn't relent.

Just as she would get the new treatment protocol down, another symptom would start that would knock her down several pegs until she could establish her new normal.

Coping with memories

As a caregiver and daughter, I was the first to articulate to my mom the examples of her symptoms. I assisted her with her initial conversations with her doctor to get assessed for COPD. I started grieving the beginning of COPD for my mom and was there at each step of her journey.

I would see mother and daughter pairs out at the mall with the mother looking older than my mom. I would fight off jealousy that their mom could accompany her adult daughter without the assistance of a wheelchair and portable oxygen device.

Flash forward to the present day. Today, I made myself walk into the mall we frequented to window shop at least once a month, with our last visit being August 2023.

I was hit with memories of our time at this mall from my youth when we were both full of energy and life. I saw visions of our shopping sprees and how her eyes would light up when she went into Carson's, Evan's, and even Montgomery Ward's.

Being grateful while grieving

I admit, I did find my memories of my mom escaping down my cheeks a few times, and I didn't hold back. There were tears, yes, but there were smiles of gratitude and joy amidst the loss. I wonder if other people saw my mom and me out on our mall outings and thought about how lucky we were to be on the sacred journey we were on.

You see, grief has a specific starting point, but in life, sometimes, the grief transfers to your loved ones who are left behind. Grief can be and IS good.

Grief reflects the love you shared and is in equal measure to the importance of that person to you.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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