Understanding the stages of Grief (Parent Companion: The First Five Years – Parents whose child receives a diagnosis go through a different kind of grieving process. Understanding it can help you cope.
A GRIEF ONLY SOME CAN UNDERSTAND
“Parents generate core level dreams for their children even before the child is born. Disability shatters those dreams. Grieving is the process whereby parents separate from those shattered dreams and begin creating new dreams.”—Dr. Ken Moses
“The feeling of isolation at the time of diagnosis is almost universal among parents.”—Patricia McGill Smith, You Are Not Alone.
The grieving process you may experience when your child is diagnosed is different from the grief you feel when someone close to you dies:
- It’s an unlearned and automatic process. No one has to tell you to “feel.” You feel the way you do no matter what anyone else says
- It must be shared with a significant other. The more couples can communicate at difficult times like these, the greater their collective strength
- Grieving is not always accepted by our society or sometimes even by the grieving person. Sometimes tears make people uncomfortable
- Grieving brings out the “feeling states” of denial, anxiety, fear, guilt, depression and/or anger
Dr. Ken Moses, quoted above, categorized into stages the kind of grief felt by parents of children who have a disability. Let’s look at how to recognize each of the stages, as well as ways to cope with them. (for the rest of the article)
How do you help a Grieving Friend? “Refuge in Grief” video