7 Stages of Grieving

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Carri, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Carri

    Carri Active Member


    Boy is this true for me. One day (or minute) I'm fine, then I'm sad, then I'm mad at my difficult child, then I'm thinking about the past...what could have been done differently. If only I only had to go through these stages once and be done with it. Unfortunately it's a vicious cycle, it doesn't end. Although with time, I stay in acceptance more than ever, I still go back to the other stages. Often.

    Good example of what can set me off...I had texted my son that he had mail at the house. A few days later he called me while I was at work to ask if it was ok if he went into the house to get his mail, that his sister was home. I thought, wow, he's calling first, asking for permission, progress. Later that day, when I see my daughter (who I should mention has Down syndrome) I say, hey, so you saw your brother today? She says, yes mom, he scared me. I'm like, what? She tells me her dog was barking so she came down stairs to see what she was barking about and found her brother hiding in the shower. So...he wasn't calling to ask for permission to go in the house, he was covering his tracks, not sure if his sister would mention it to me or not? Anger. Disbelief. Will it ever end? Thanks for listening, everyone. Happy Monday!
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  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    That is scary.

    I am so sorry this is happening!

    Hiding in the shower.

    Time to change the locks? Do you think there was any good reason for him to be home? Probably not, or the dog would not have been barking.

  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    If it were me I would change the locks on the house and instruct your daughter to keep the doors locked if she's home alone.

    I don't know what the whole story is with your son but if he still has mail delivered to your home then it shows he's a resident there. That can become problematic. I would suggest that you have him fill out a change of address form, if he doesn't have a residence then a P.O. box. In the meantime if more mail comes for him, text him but tell him that he may only come by if you are at home, or better yet have him meet you somewhere.

    As for the greiving, been there. It is a process but it's necessarry to let go and move on.

    Hang in there!!
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yeah, I believe we do cycle through those stages of grief. It is a process and it really takes time. What really helped me was to get as much support as possible through it, therapy, 12 step groups, parent groups, whatever works for you. For awhile I was showing up at some kind of supportive atmosphere daily. I was distraught and wanted my life back so I decided whatever this was going to take, I was going to do.

    I went around those cycles for maybe 2 years and then began to move out of it, as the article states. It wasn't rosy, but it was better. And, like you said, you stay in acceptance longer each time. I noticed that too. And, I think it's very important to acknowledge those times you are feeling good. We get so focused on what is not working, we don't focus too much on what is working..........when those times show up, really celebrate them. As I began to do that, really notice the changes, the changes began expanding. What you focus on expands, at least in my belief system, so focus on what is working when it is.

    It was like an inch by inch process, but it really does move. It DOES get better, MUCH better, just hang in there Carri, get as much support as you can, focus on what is working, be VERY kind to yourself through all the changes, accepting each as it shows up.......acknowledge your growth and healing..........and keep posting, it helps. We all go through a similar process and if you continue with the commitment to accept what you can't change, you will get to the other side of this. And you'll rediscover peace and joy........really, you will. This part WILL end.
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Two years must mean something as my grieving was about two years as well.

    My suggestion about the mail is to go to the post office and say that you are getting mail from somebody who doesn't live there anymore so hold it or send it to his new address, if he has one. They should give you a form.
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I did not have time to review the site you posted for us until this morning. This is a great piece. Thank you so much.

    I agree that two years seems to be about right for that time of intense, focused grieving, and for belief in reparation and recovery. Then there comes a time of acceptance. But I would add that for the parents of difficult child kids, deeper, more shocking layers of something that feels like betrayal (or maybe even a kind of insanity) are exposed. Shock after shock as our children and our futures and our families change before our eyes but there is no end to the vulnerability of hope.

    That is the comfort we do not have. Our stories are not over, our grieving is a shocked and living thing.

    Our stories are like those old adventure stories where the hero is forced to run a gauntlet. We take the blows and keep on going, pulling our children and grands along behind us, protecting them as best we can for as long as we can. To give in is impossible, is unthinkable.

    So I would say that over time, I am less healing from, than becoming accustomed to, shock and grief. There is a dull finality to some of the things happening now. There is an "Of course that is what would happen next." hellishness to things. I reach for my toolbox (as COM posts to us). Or review my survival skills and automatically pick a persona, a set of interpretations and responses that will see me through the time I cannot seem to wrap my brain around.

    There is a measure of comfort in knowing what to do, in knowing how to detach from the emotional maelstrom and stand up.

    Boy, am I darkness personified this morning.

    Must be something in my coffee!


    In reality, I think it is helpful to discuss our grieving processes. I remember wondering whether I would ever be myself again ~ and I meant that in a concrete way. I have changed so much.

    Wise and wary is part of it.

    Knowing how to sit with the pain is part of it.

    Not so much "Let it go." as "Let it be."

    Like in that old Beatles song.

    Just...let it be, let it all be. These are the stories of those I love. There is much pain, there.

    Let it be.
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  7. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    Our stories are not over, our grieving is a shocked and living thing.

    Not so much "Let it go." as "Let it be"
  8. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    I was trying to "quote" can't figure out how to do that... I love everything you wrote, Cedar. It is ongoing grieving...not a death, it's not over.
  9. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

  10. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Elizabeth Kubler Ross was the doctor who came up with the stages of grief. This was big when I was in college/nursing school.

    It's a struggle to get through to the last state, acceptance. It's a struggle to not enable, to not fix things, to not be reactive when they call with some crisis. It's a struggle to accept that this still goes on despite our efforts to be therapuetic. It's a struggle to live day to day, knowing about our difficult children what we know. Yet we all do it.

    Read more: http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/7-stages-of-grieving.59614/#ixzz3QjAiazZl
  11. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    The quote thing is not working too good today.
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Carri, to quote someone click and drag over what you want to quote, it will highlight in blue. Sometimes you have to click again but a little dialog box should pop up that says "quote me"
    Hope that helps.
  13. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    Tanya, let's see if I can quote you...
  14. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    You can teach an old dog new tricks. [emoji3]
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  15. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    The thing I find difficult is that the grieving cycle seems to start all over again each time there's a big event, a big let down. Like this time, having my son home from for a few weeks from prison and then MIA again. Like really? again? It's a blur, like those two good weeks didn't even happen. It's hard not to get in a funk. But I guess recognizing where I'm at is huge progress. Recognizing and taking action to change my thinking. The whole addiction and going to jail and rehabs started over 11 years ago. It's gettin' old.
  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Carri, it is difficult. It is devastating. And, it does get old. It does seem to last and recycle our fears over and over again. BUT, I am a believer that with support and with a strong commitment to change, you can begin to let go and seriously find joy and begin to live a happy life. Even with our kids still out there in whatever place they find themselves. There is a quote by the Dalai Lama which I keep by my desk, it is something that is basically foreign to us when it comes to our children, but I do believe it is true and that we can find our way to it. The quote is......"Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace."

    Do I think that is hard. Yes I do. I think it is very hard to do, BUT it is not impossible. It takes work. It takes changing our perceptions, our thoughts, our responses. It takes us giving up the belief or the guilt that as long as our kids are suffering, or out there, or in jail, or mentally ill, or addicted, or whatever, we cannot be happy, or content. That is a mindset. It is not true. We can be okay and even happy even when our kids are not. We can emerge from the pit of suffering.........but it is going to take work on our part. It took a village for me to make that shift. I got help wherever I could find it. I needed someone to continue to remind me that I did not have to keep suffering in this quagmire my daughter had chosen to live in. " I can really do that? I can really be okay even if she is not?" And, with a lot of support, I began to believe it and then everything changed. There is an end to grief. It does not last forever.

    As the quote goes, Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. This is painful, but it is not a life sentence. You can move beyond it and let go. I did it. And, I am no different than you. My whole life changed. Once I let go and accepted what is, it ALL changed.

    Hang in there. It WILL get better.
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  17. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    Thank you...just what I needed to hear.
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I think there is a different kind of grieving that comes with acceptance. It's like another level altogether. To me, it seems like we began naming the hopes of things for our kids at those times in their lives when they should have been claiming their independence from us, from our ideas, from our plans for their lives.

    I think that is when our thinking got messed up. In that manner, I mean. We have been pushing them to take their independence ever since. That was a battle they should have been fighting for themselves. But they didn't. So, we took it on for them.

    Letting go of that is part of what detachment parenting is about.

    I think that is true.

    It's about letting them fall, if we have to, until they pick up on their own. And it's about accepting their level of "this is enough for me" without feeling betrayed or cheated or cheapened.

    Which I do feel.



    That's me, hugging myself anyway, because all of this is so hard.


    Instead of claiming their lives though, our difficult child kids slipped back. Whether the slippage had to do with drugs or illness, it somehow became our role to recapture that drive to succeed, that independent streak that should have given them the strength to break away from us.

    Though it is a gift that will free us, realizing that what happened to our kids and to our families was not just slippage, but that over the years it has become our inescapably ugly story, is painful in a whole new way.

    "This cannot be my story. This cannot be how it ends."

    I had just gone through a thing about the ugliness of our story. (It is on the thread To Tell the Truth.) Once I got through it, I reached a different level of acceptance, somehow.

    And somehow too, a different way of loving. I think that is true. I seem steadier. I seem to react with less shock. I seem able to just be with them in the moment, whatever it is, without slamming myself into that FOG place or grieving myself into a state.

    I'm sorry we can't describe what happens so well that none of the others of us have to go through it, but I think there are levels, and that each of us has to find and go through them on her own before she can function around the issues difficult child kids continue (maybe, for all of their lives) to bring to the table. But I know it is so helpful to me to hear that there are parents out there who made it through and who are in possession of their emotional lives in a way I still am not.

    I know that one day, I will get to that place, too.


    There I am, having self-approval again.


    It is a hard thing. Most parents will not ever have to reach the levels of acceptance we will have to reach with our difficult child kids if we intend to love them where they're at.

    Drat those kids.





  19. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This has always been one of my favorite quotes!! So much truth.

    Yes, life can be so wonderful once we let go.
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  20. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    This is so true. At my worst, I even prayed he would die, so I would be relieved from my pain. It was about me. So much of it was about me, and is about me, and when I first heard that in Al-Anon, I was so angry I could not speak, that someone would dare to say I was as sick as he was.

    The pain goes on and on, and even when the intense pain abates, there is disappointment and expectations and anger and shame and guilt and the unrelenting grief.

    I can only say that there is light. There is light that will come, regardless of how bad things get. I listened to people yesterday who have lost their adult children to drugs and they experience light today.

    Even in the death of their grown child to this awful, terrible disease.

    I want the light. I want to live in the light no matter what other people who I love so much decide to do. There is a way to do it, and I am so grateful for that.

    Carri, just keep walking through the grief. As you will. You have so much recovery already, it is very clear in what you write and how you write.

    We are here with you and we get it. Warm hugs today.
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