Saturday, October 22, 2011

Grief

There are many theories on grief in counselling circles. They used to say you would move from one stage to another, but nowadays, there's an acknowledgement that we are more likely to jump around from one stage to another and back again. Anniversaries or significant events often trigger more intense feelings. This means that birthdays, Christmas, any other food-related event can be a reminder or what's been lost.

So for allergies, grief comes because we've lost a way of life, we've lost a freedom that we took for granted. We have also lost the dreams of what we thought life would look like for our child. I was just watching a movie the other day and it dawned on me that our son would not be able to simply kiss a girl when he is a teenager, incase she had just drunk cow's milk. Can you imagine a teenage boy asking a girl to first brush her teeth before they kissed? Forget it! So that means, a kiss could be lethal... just like in the horror films, except this is everyday life for him. Sigh, all I can be grateful for is that he is only two now. Grief is a big part of dealing with food allergies, and how we deal with this grief can determine whether we continue to move on, or whether we get stuck.

These are some basic stages of grief and examples of what it sounds like in everyday life:
Denial or shock - "I can't believe this is happening... it can't be true"
Anger - "I hate this... I hate everything... it's not fair"
Guilt - "If only I hadn't done it like that...Maybe I should have done things differently?"
Bargaining - "God, if I do/don't do this, will you make it all better?"
Acceptance - "My life is different now. What else can I do now?"

I'm guessing that as our boy grows up, we'll go through each of these stages again. Each year brings new realisations about allergies and what it means for our son and for us as parents.

I do live in hope that the allergies will decrease or maybe even disappear, but part of what helps me accept this way of life is when I can find ways in which my life or perhaps the life of another is helped by us having to travel this journey.

"For God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him
and are called according to His will." Romans 8:28.

Yes, somehow, someway, our son's allergies will be used for good. I hope this is true for you too in whatever challenges you face.

2 comments:

  1. I know what you mean about taking it for granted that just eating food would be normal. You do your best to protect them and I try to be grateful that this is something we can "manage" in the grand scheme of things. Hang in there, the internet is such a great resource for support. I found you via the "circle of moms" - my daughter has multiple FAs, as does my son.

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  2. Hi hsw, yes the Circle of Mom's top 25 food allergy blogs was such a great resource. Sometimes it's hard to find food specific blogs, so I go to that list often to check out other blogs too now.
    Wow, having a daughter and a son with food allergies... are they similar allergies or totally different? Cooking dinner at your house must be even harder!

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