Grieving is a process much like healing.
Most people go through a process which is a natural and normal part of accepting what has happened. There are several stages to this process:
1. Denial: "No, this couldn't have happened to us..."
2. Anger and Frustration: Family members may feel anger toward anyone who could be seen as the cause of the injury. They may feel victimized and frequently develop a hostile attitude directed toward those professionals who are working with the injured person and cannot "fix" the problem. Family members may blame other family members for the injury.
3. Depression and Withdrawal: Family members may lack the motivation to care for themselves, physically and emotionally. They may feel isolated from friends; who were very supportive initially, but become less involved as the process of restoration of the injured person drags on. With few social contacts, the family becomes more hopeless and less functional.
4. Acceptance: The family, over an indefinite period of time, should begin to accept the changes that have occurred in their loved one and begin to heal. The process of "mourning" the loss of the person may confuse the issue of acceptance, but ultimately both the family and the person with the brain injury must accept what cannot be changed and learn to get on with a life of the highest quality possible.
- Families experience grief while their loved one is in a coma.
- Families experience grief when the brain injured person is changed by the injury.
- Brain injured people feel grief over what they have lost.
Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
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