Grief and Acceptance in Chronic Illness
Acceptance has always been a huge part of the journey for me. For me it has been the key vehicle that has carried me from the darkest lands across hostile ground to a safe place again. This journey hasn’t been without its challenges but i felt I’d reached a place that was calm and predictable and I liked it. Little did I know that soon after my oldest child’s health would spiral again. In a blink, me right back to no mans land.
Without warning I was catapulted again into an existence consumed by feelings of helplessness and anxiety, the overwhelming frustration on this new journey only overshadowed by my complete lack of control over anything. Health, education, management, healing. The process I was going through was far worse than any grief I had felt with my own diagnoses. I felt helpless and numb. Where once writing was an outlet and helped me to heal I now became paralysed if I tried to put pen to paper.
Slowly, very slowly I have began to find empowerment in securing the right provision for him, I have poured myself into work and I find myself less disconnected from the world around around me, smiling and saying I’m fine is not always a lie.
It is easy to underestimate the emotional impact of a child’s diagnosis and the effect that it has on a family. In my experience this has been much harder to deal with than any road that I have walked myself but I feel that I am beginning to move along in this cycle and coming to terms with what this means for my son – his new path, whatever that may be.
This year on 15th his birthday I spent hours scrolling through old photos, quite clearly you can see in his eyes the point that he became sick and it’s hard to find a picture in the last two years where he isn’t asleep. Instead of this process upsetting me this made me happy, proud of who he is, of his resilience, his humour, his acceptance. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to do this on his 13th or 14th birthday, I must be starting to heal.
Beginning to Heal
If you find yourself catapulted into this process – caring for a child who becomes sick please give yourself time, please be kind to yourself, tread gently, laugh, cry, scream and try to take the time to talk to someone. When the overwhelming helplessness makes you sick to your stomach every day you must know that your body can not live in that sate of fight or flight for ever, it will settle, slowly you will begin to move forward. You will begin to heal and feel empowered, you will learn more than you know and be closer to the people that you love more than you could ever imagine.
With acceptance, true acceptance, comes peace. This is a process.