Physically, it's the loss of muscle and strength that is happening. As muscle disappears, so does functional ability. The fact that I can't hold a sewing needle is not a big loss to me. When I was able-bodied I had to take my pants out to be hemmed ! The losses that affect identity and independence are the hardest. Being a good cook has always been a strong part of my identity. That is slowly but surely being chipped away. It's either difficult or impossible to open packages, peel and chop vegetables, trim or cut meat, drain a pot, pour a full kettle ... the list goes on.
Independence - it's the "firsts" of these losses that hurt the most. The first time I couldn't open the front door, do a button or a zipper, open a milk jug or a pop can, rip an envelope ... this list goes on as well. It's the first times that catch me by surprise. After the initial reaction (sometimes a mini-meltdown) we begin to problem solve. Either figure out a way to do it differently or accept that I need to ask for help.
Although there are lots of things I can't do (and I know there's a lot more to come) there are a lot of things I can do. I can wake up each morning and know that I will try for the best day possible. I will continue to have wonderful adventures with Margaret. I will appreciate the beauty in the world around me. I will revel in the joy of family and friends. I will love and be loved. I will laugh till I cry and cry till I laugh.