Grief, Anger, and Acceptance
This might help those who are new to the caregiver role.
I remember that I went through a grief process that mirrored exactly what someone would go through whose spouse had died. I at first denied the scope of the loss and thought that it would somehow disappear magically. This went on for a while and then with a crash my ivory tower collapsed.
Next I bargained with God and made promises that If he healed my wife, I'd do all sorts of things to help others. When the miracle didn't happen I then became angry and shouted at God, shook my fist, threatened dire consequences, etc.. Finally I woke up one day and lay in bed and dropped into a depression because I knew that we were going to have to live with it.
The afore mentioned process took me 7 years to get through. I had to wait until she accepted the TBI because I was there to support her. When she accepted it then it was my turn to deal with the pain. I at first felt angry at her acceptance, and wanted to say, "I don't accept this, why are you!" And that was because I didn't want to feel the grief and the feelings. I knew it would hurt, and it did.
I'm glad now that I did feel the feelings because a burden has been lifted. My fighting the truth took most of my energy, and I was prone to depression because the truth lurked in plain sight. Denial was so strong that I wasn't even aware that I was denying reality.
I'm sure this is familiar to those who are old hands. It is also true that the process continues because this injury is like a chronic illness. We live with the effects daily. Some days are good and some are bad. I personally think Stephanie and I are closer for it, and that we and all who deal with this are incredibly strong people. We are all to be commended for living and dealing with a situation that no one should have to; not the person with the TBI, nor the ones who love them.
Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
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