Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stages of Grief and a Chronic Illness...

With a chronic illness it's like you are losing part of you or part of your loved one that you cannot get back. In Clifford's case I cannot get back the carefree days without D. The time that I sent him off to Preschool without any worries, or even a second thought to him eating or drinking.

When looking at a chronic illness to begin to even accept it you must go through the grief of losing that piece of someone or yourself.

The first stage is Denial, The I can't believe this stage. I kept thinking in our experience that maybe they got it wrong, maybe it wasn't Type 1 diabetes, maybe it was something else that he can just take a pill for or nothing at all. Denial is a hard stage, because with Diabetes you need to accept your new normal and handle and care for your or your loved ones Diabetes diligently.

After you have passed Denial you will hit the stage known as Depression. I may have stayed in this stage a little longer then I would have liked. I was very unhappy that Clifford had to go through what he had to go through and couldn't be a normal kid anymore. I could cry at the drop of a hat just thinking what he must endure now and the rest of his life until there is a cure. Heck I probably could still cry at the drop of the hat, but I'm emotional like that. I however got through the depression and moved onto the next stage which is Anger.

In the anger stage, which once in awhile I frequently revisit, I was so angry with Diabetes for coming into his life. I wanted it to see where the front door was and see it's way out. I wanted Diabetes to know it was NOT welcome in Our life and most importantly my son's life! It's hard to live day to day when you are so very angry at someone or something. It's not healthy for anyone around you and certainly not healthy for yourself. It is also hard not to be angry at something such as Diabetes for robbing them of a normal life. But eventually you move past your anger and learn to enter the last stage Acceptance.

During the acceptance stage you realize finally that this is how it is going to be from here on out. How I looked at it was I could either sit around being sad and angry at something that was out of our control, or I could accept it, and be as happy as I possibly could. It helps to look at all the positive around you rather than the negative when dealing with D. The best positive of all is that my son is alive!

Now some stages of grief list bargaining. Which I can see as I have said many times to God, why couldn't he just make Clifford's pancreas work correctly and give me D instead. That I would much rather endure the shots, and everything involved with D rather than Clifford go through it.

In all I've gone through all the stages of grief. That's not to say that from time to time I don't go back and revisit a few. I do, I'm only human, but I've learned to accept that this is Clifford's new life, and we just make sure to do our very best to ensure he grows up to be a happy and healthy adult. And also make sure he is a responsible capable adult in dealing with his diabetes management, that is until a cure is found...........


  1. I didn't allow myself to grieve in the beginning. I went straight into "mom mode." But I found that I had to circle back and let myself have feelings about it once things settled down.

  2. I came upon this post through Leighann D-mom on twitter. Wow, I love your diaghram I was diagnosed with D 2/2/11 at age 49 so I've been dealing with it for 7 months. I have gone through all of those feelings, except I think I didn't bargain because as the mom I wouldn't want anyone else in my family to have to live with this condition, if it had to be someone I guess I'd rather it be me than one of my children or future grandchildren. During my denial stage I told myself and my family "I'm one tough broad, I can do this". Then as I was going through the depression phase, I decided I wasn't as tough as I thought I was, this condition had weakened me. I still HATE that this happened to me, I had 49 great diabetes free years and would love to have that back, but I think I am possibly in the acceptance phase now. Your son and the rest of your children will learn from you how to deal with life changing things, by the way you deal. I have a 24 year old and a 14 year old, the 14 is still at home, it has affected her so much but I'm trying to teach her to be strong when life throws you a curve ball, and you just keep living.

  3. So true. I think I've circled around these stages a couple of times in the last 2 1/2 years since Ally's dx. I wonder if I will ever completely feel acceptance?

  4. Thank you both for offering your advice. It is very difficult to get into the acceptance stage. I think many may never get there, and you can most definitely understand why. But for myself and for my family I felt I needed to be there, and needed to get done what needed to be done to show Clifford he's just the same as before, we just now have to work a little harder. He needs an example on how to handle changes, and events that will affect him when he's older, and I hope by accepting what has happened and moving on and learning to manage our new normal he will have that example.