So I started a new job recently. I work for a non-profit company that assists people that have developmental disabilities. At an ?all staff? meeting that combined two offices someone said something that just keeps ringing through my mind. These specific people work in a department called Early Intervention so they help parents with young children, 0-3 years old navigate the intimidating world once a developmental disability has been diagnosed, such as Asperges or Autism. When describing the department they work in one employee mentioned many times they are helping the parent go through the ?grieving? process.
I can?t get that out of my head. She spoke a very raw truth. We grieve over not only physical losses but the loss of an ideal. Having a child we are expecting a glowing vision of perfection that is propped up high on a pedestal built from the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the parents. The excitement of meeting that awesome example of a perfect human being unsullied by the reality of how imperfect our world is a feeling that inspires tears of joy. To have that ripped away and the idea of perfection crushed like a cockroach is devastating. Who wouldn?t grieve? It breaks my heart.
Being raised with disability as a normality around me doesn?t lessen how I think I?d feel if my own offspring was afflicted with some sort of developmental disability. Looking at the cases that come across my desk some of these children know more love then anyone I?ve ever seen. While others I am just saddened by the way they have been treated although the situation now may be improved.
The thing about grieving is that its a process and we experience it so many times throughout life. We experience the loss of a friendship, an expectation or the death of a family member or even a family pet. The experience is so different for each person. No rule book exists, not a ?Self-Help? book written can describe the exact emotions that are experienced. The sadness is so deeply personal and vastly different from the next.
Do you believe that grief is exclusive to the physical loss of a loved one? Can you or have you grieved over an idea or failed expectation of self or others?