Cycles of Grief, Caregiving for Chronic Conditions

It’s been apparent for a while our son had medical problems. Until the diagnosis this month, we were in the dark about a lot of things. However, we still had enough information to know this would probably go on for a while and things would come up we didn’t expect. It took me by surprise this week when I was hit with grief not just once, but twice. I accepted our son had a chronic medical condition a long time ago. Why would I be so distressed at hearing bad news from his doctors?

It turns out that it’s really not possible to get full closure when you’re fighting a chronic medical condition. You can reach acceptance during times of calm, but upon hearing new information (especially bad news) you start the grief process all over again. It’s no less painful than it was the first time and it’s significantly more frustrating because you know what’s coming. The anger, the bargaining, and the depression. You can watch yourself suffer it, powerless to force yourself to just jump to the end already.

It’s not really fair to get angry every time you hear bad news from a doctor. Watching myself go through the bargaining stage is gut-wrenching. After all, none of the previous bargaining worked. Nothing makes this round especially magical. And the depression… like any caregiver needs to spend even a minute using their energy to motivate themselves to do what needs to be done. We barely have enough as it stands. I want to skip the whole process, but it’s becoming crystal clear that it simply isn’t possible. So, instead I get to traverse through the morass of grief over and over again. A part of me watches from the outside, unable to help. I’m honestly not sure which part is getting the worse end of the deal.

Well… maybe I know who’s getting the raw end. It might be my husband. He not only has to deal with his own grief but watches me struggle through mine as well. All the while knowing he has to go to work, focus, and there’s really not much at all he can do to help our son or me.


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