Grief Happens at Different Seasons of Life in Caregiving Families
Grief happens at different seasons of life in caregiving families. That’s the lesson Kimberly Drew learned once again when her daughter had an unexpected grand mal seizure recently. In this post she talks about how she’s processing her emotions and adjusting to her family’s new reality.
My husband’s grandfather passed away recently at the age of 94. He was a WWII U.S. Navy veteran and had been married to his sweetheart for over 63 years. Our church provided some grief materials through Stephen’s Ministries. I received the first pamphlet recently. Our family members felt different levels of grief over his passing because he was a true family patriarch and man of God, but we also experienced a great sense of peace and hope because of how long and rich his life really was. That’s why I didn’t expect to read the pamphlet and have emotions that had nothing to do with his passing.
You see, our daughter Abigail had a significant seizure a little over a week ago after being seizure-free for over a decade. Her previous seizure had been small, the result of weaning her off meds at the age of 8. Before that, her only seizures had occurred after her delivery. Her recent seizure was very different. What started as a cozy afternoon watching Hallmark in my bed together, turned into a 911 call and trip to the emergency room. For about a minute or so, we were truly terrified. While I am so grateful for her life and that she’s okay, her grand mal seizure took away our sense of safety and security in a matter of seconds. I found myself rereading the grief pamphlet and connecting with its Scriptures and information over that loss. I shed a lot of tears while processing it.
I have spoken to many parents of children with special needs over the years. Many of us are unaware that what we consider to be a reaction to a hardship, trial, or caregiving duty is actually grief. The long-term care of a disabled loved one means that grief happens at different seasons of life, for example, during a medical crisis, physical changes, or losses. Grief has stages and being able to recognize them not only helps us heal, but also helps those around us understand what we are dealing with.
My daughter’s seizure was unexpected, sudden, and traumatic, I have been walking around in shock since it happened. Emotionally, it brought me back to Abbey’s traumatic birth and the seizures that followed her delivery. I don’t like to visit that memory. The shock will pass, and in future I will have other phases of grief to process. But, I do not go through them alone.
I often read Psalm 139, which speaks truth about many areas of life and to the grief that happens at different seasons of life. I am particularly drawn to verses 7 through 10 now and hope you will be encouraged to read it. Let these word from the Lord wash over you, and comfort you in your own stages of grief.
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
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Kimberly grew up and went to college in the small town of Upland, IN. She graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Elementary Education in 2002. While at TU, she married her college sweetheart and so began their adventure! Ryan and Kimberly have three amazing kids on earth (Abigail, Jayden, and Cooper), and a baby boy waiting for them in heaven. Theirdaughter Abigail (Abbey) has multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, hearing loss, microcephaly, and oral dysphagia. She is the inspiration behind Kimberly’s desire to write. In addition to being a stay at home mom, Kimberly has been serving alongside her husband in full time youth ministry for almost fourteen years. She enjoys working with the senior high girls, scrapbooking, reading, and music. You can visit Kimberly at her website, Promises and Perspective.
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