Grieving losses from brain injury

There is so much that we lose with a bludgeoned brain, and it is invisible to others, who often can't begin to understand, or, more humorously, think they understand because they sometimes lose their keys. Grin.

The need to grieve a loss of capacity isn't often understood because they are usually associated with the death of a loved one, or having a terminal illness. Brain injury, however, is a mini-death, or a series of mini-deaths. We lose capacity. The planet we live on is simply harder on us that the planet everyone else lives on.

The stages of grief are the same, and there are seven (you may have thought there were only five, as that's what's typically understood. But the last two are essential for being able to enter life as fully as possible, so I've added them.

  1. Denial. Nope. I do not have a brain injury. Nothing's wrong with me. I can push harder and get through it. Splat.
  2. Anger. Arrrrgh! God and creation and everyone hate me and are against me. God, can you please help me through this?
  3. Bargaining. God, make it go away and I'll ... owe you one. But I already owe you beyond anything I can possibly imagine. Huh.
  4. Depression. Nothing I can do. The world is so heavy and hard. Oof.
  5. Acceptance. Uh ... the sun came up, and it's warm. Yeah, life is harder, I have a bludgeoned brain, but I do experience joy. It's a long hard road, but maybe, just maybe...
  6. Integration. Alright. My capacity is different, and I have to do things differently, but I CAN do quite a lot ... I just have to let go of expectations from before. So...
  7. Co-Creation. What am I called to co-create with God? How do I get started? Let's go!

These stages tend to happen one after the other, but it can be easy to get stuck in one. How do we move forward? Naming them helps, a lot. Prayer. Talking with loved ones about it. Writing folks on a support group.

We keep experiencing the stages as long as we live ... because we still have losses and we are still alive! It's been 40 years since my first concussion, and 21 years since my 8th+ concussion left me disabled, and I still grieve the various stages at various times. When I can't attend an important event (wedding, funeral, baptism, etc), it can hit hard, and seems like it's out of the blue. That's when I pray the prayer of Thanksgiving:

How have you experienced grief so far?