As we begin to realize that our child is out of control our dreams for them and for our family become broken or fragmented. We begin to experience tremendous loss and we can’t move on in our own lives until we go through a process of grieving for what was or what might have been. This process has several phases but it is important to interpret these phases loosely. There is not an orderly progression from one phase to the next and it is common for us to experience the phases out of order, have them repeat themselves, or even to have multiple phases hit at the same time.
The Shock Phase happens when we are confronted with and face the truth about what is going on with our child. For some of us it is a gradual realization and for others it is an instant awareness and we are completely caught off guard. At this time we become disoriented, we are unable to make decisions, and we feel overwhelmed.
During what I call the Bewilderment Phase we feel emotionally drained. We tend to deny what we are really feeling and our emotions seem to feed off of one another. We feel angry, frightened, and ashamed. We may try to pull away physically and emotionally from our child. We need direction and support from others, but we don’t know how to ask for it.
We being to turn our focus to our other children, our spouses, friends, and jobs during the Shifting Phase of our grief. We begin to look ahead and our emotions and responses start to be hopeful.
As we enter the Re-Building Phase we are confident again, we can think ahead, and we begin to have interests outside of our home and family. We start taking care of ourselves, reconnecting with friends, and looking for ways to serve others.
The beautiful thing about participating in a Hurting Moms group is that we can openly share our grief and the different emotions and phases as we go through them. Not only can we share without fear of judgement, we can share knowing that the others in the group “get it”. Nobody understands our grief like another Hurting Mom and there is so much healing that takes place just by being able to share in a safe place where we are understood.