I know the research says there are 5 stages of grief.
Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.
I do not doubt those stages; but, holy cow, I remember being knocked off my feet by the shock and resounding shock waves from my husband’s diagnosis of a brain tumor.
March 12, 2004 – Gary put in a full day of work; the last he would work. The boys and I came home with pizza after a 4-H meeting. Gary had a headache and didn’t feel well. He went to bed without eating. Unusual, yes, but he hadn’t been feeling great lately. It must be a sinus infection or something. I am not the type of person that immediately assumes “brain tumor” every time someone has a headache. I mean…what are the odds?
March 13, 2004 – Headache was the worst he’s ever had. An appointment with the family physician led to a cat scan. Brain tumor. MRI. Neurosurgeon. Surgery scheduled for March 17. And so it began. Life in a foreign world. We were in shock.
Shock, to me, is the first step of grief. I didn’t know what was ahead, but I knew, with all certainty, life was not going to be “normal” again. I remember thinking, over and over, “I just want our ‘normal’ back.” My head felt fuzzy. I pictured my mind as a table full of papers and someone had just turned on a fan, full speed, and pointed it toward that table full of papers. They were blowing everywhere. I couldn’t catch them…let alone put them in order. I also had a vision of our life in a picturesque snowglobe. Look how pretty and calm. Then, a maniacal giant came along, picked up our snowglobe life and shook it, over and over, until we were dizzy and disoriented. I also remember wondering if it was odd that I was having these vivid images of how my world felt.
Shock. I think your body/mind somewhat take over for you. It doesn’t last – life and reality will move you out of shock. My advice for anyone feeling shocked, knocked off your feet, like your world has been maniacally shaken and/or like your papers are being scattered … take deep breaths. Repeat. Then, make the coffee. A repetitive action that you do not really have to “think” about can keep you functioning.