Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Hi, all!  I'm LeMira, and Natalie asked me to contribute to this blog.  So, here is my first post, and you'll get to know more about me and my son as I write more.  

Last night I had a talk with a friend who teaches children with special needs at a school just for them.  When I learned this, I opened up about my concerns with my six year old son, Jackson.  You see, I am getting him tested for PDD-NOS in the next two months.  In our conversation last night, my friend Janet mentioned that it's okay to grieve over what you you thought you were going to have but aren't.  (Does that make sense?)  So many times we associate grief with death or a loss that we could touch, but grief goes deeper.    Grief is natural.  Grief is okay.  Grief is necessary.

Grief is natural.  Grief comes with any loss, even if it's the loss of that dream you had, that vision of having children with no special health care needs.  Most moms had a time in their lives when they were little girls and dreamed of being a mommy.  We held our dolls, sang to them, fed them, and changed their diapers.  We played "House" with our siblings and friends - taking turns being the parents and the kids.  When we were pregnant, we talked about the dreams we had for our kids.  We thought about that first day of school, and what their lives would be like. We had dreams and visions.  Those dreams and visions have had to change.  Perhaps they can still be, but we will get there via a different path than we had planned, and it hurts.  It's normal.  We grieve over the other path, the one less rocky (yeah, that one that you see cleeeeeeaaar over there).

Grief is okay.  Don't beat yourself up for missing that other path.  It doesn't mean that you don't love your kids.  It doesn't mean that you aren't grateful for the blessings in your life.  It doesn't mean that you would change it, but sometimes it just hurts.

Grief is necessary.  The only way to move ahead on this path is to grieve over the path you didn't get first.  Let it run its course - shock & denial, guilt&pain, anger & bargaining, depression/reflection/loneliness, the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, acceptance and hope (see this link for more information).  Where are you in your stage of grief right now?  Think about it.  When you first knew that something would be different with your child, how did you feel?

Did you deny it?  (I was in denial for much longer than I care to admit.)
Did you blame yourself (guilt/pain)?
Were you angry at the therapist or school teacher who informed you, or did you tell yourself that you could change it if you just did such and such (anger/bargaining)?
Did you fall into depression because you didn't know what to do; did you feel alone, like no one understands or that it's you alone bearing this burden?
Did you find resources to help you?
Are you learning to work through it all?
Have you accepted it?

There is no timeline in grief.  It is different for everyone, and it's possible to move through the stages at different rates, in a different order, and repetitively. I can tell you that I've gone through several stages multiple times.  For example, I've accepted some things, but I'm still depressed about others.   I personally believe that if you don't allow yourself to grieve, and you skip right to acceptance or  you get stuck in denial, you will eventually get stuck in depression, and you could possibly go wacko. Tell yourself that your feelings are normal and natural.  Then, you will move on when you are ready and start rebuilding your life for the way it can be, not the way you thought it was going to be.


Sugar said...

LeMira, My sweet. I loved your heartfelt post. You are sooo correct! As a former special education teacher I dealt with this subject all the time. I was a part-therapist with my students' parents and helped them understand this very concept. I shared with them the "Trip to Holland" story. Basically it is about traveling to Italy and being so excited about seeing the canals, eating the great food, shopping, and visiting all of the wonderful and historical places. It is your dream come true to be going to Italy and you have been working your entire life to arrive. Alas, enroute the pilot tells everyone they are not going to Italy. Instead, you will be landing in Holland. What?? You never even thought about Holland. Where is it anyway? Who wants to go there? You're still upset when the plane lands. After being in Holland for a little while, you are still missing Italy but then you allow yourself to see the wonders and beauty of Holland. They have canals too. They have windmills and other amazing architectural structures. Their food, language, and culture is amazing. It is not the same as Italy but it is wonderful in it's own way. While you still sometimes catch yourself longing for Italy, you realize that you wouldn't trade Holland for anything, or anyone, else. You realize God has a plan for you and has given you a special child because he knows you will rise to the occasion and be what your sweet child needs. God chose you to parent this child and wants you to trust in Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths."

LeMira said...

Bonnie, I've heard that story before, and I love it!

Meg and Ken said...

Thanks for sharing. You're awesome and Jackson is lucky to have you as his mom.

Yayi said...

Just because both of our boys have had similiar experiences (being very early preemies, eye surgeries, etc...) I decided I would read what you had to say about Jacksons psicological evaluation. Sean has shown ADD symptoms for about 3 years and yes, I have been in denial for the longest time. I have suffered a lot, thinking nobody would understand me. I am glad you can (not that I am glad you have to go through the same thing!!!).
Thank you very much for sharing this kind of very personal stuff with the rest of us.