Five Stages of Grief – What about Shock?

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.

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About Marla Rose

This blog documents country life in central Illinois with lots of pictures, and various other ideas/adventures that come my way. My hope is to make you laugh (or at least smile) and appreciate this life!
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6 Responses to Five Stages of Grief – What about Shock?

  1. So true…I am a person who “thinks” in pictures…at least when it concerns some big issues…so I totally relate to your snow globe description. Hugs to you…

  2. Hello! I am literally wet behind the ears with blogging and just signed up for my free blog. You are the first person I have read thus far. I can completely relate to the shock stage of grief. I feel very connected to your words and your love for coffee which has been a source of comfort to me as I would sit in stunned silence over the shock of my husband’s passing.

    It was a beautiful day, July 17th, 2010 in Maine. I was having a birthday pool party for my youngest son who was turning 6. My husband being a private pilot had made plans to go up for his biannual flight review with his mentor. We owned our own plane which was a Russian Military Trainer from the Romanian Air Force. He was also a veteran Air Traffic Controller of 20 years. He was only 42. It was a perfect day and we were anticipating a fly over our pool party for our son’s birthday. Well, to make a long story short, I got the worst phone call I have ever received in my life from one of his fellow controllers who had just worked with him an hour before. He informed me I was to get down to the air port immediately because there had been an “incident” with mark and the plane. I knew right away that it wasn’t good. The hardest thing was for me to leave my three precious children who were having a beautiful time with their friends, oblivious to the fact that their worlds had been turned upside down at that moment. To watch them laughing and having a good time kicked the wind right out of me. My dear friends stayed and watched the kids till they could gently close the party. It is still very painful to write about. I lived in shock for a long time. I thought I was carrying on well despite the pressure, media coverage, the NTSB, etc…. I had to keep up the faith for my children etc… It was functioning very well till about 6 months post tragedy when the walls caved in on me and my brain was rendered entirely useless and unable to focus and pull my normal activities together. I could go on and on here but if it wasn’t for the grace of God in my life, I don’t know where I would be right now. Sometimes I DON’T know where I am in all of this. It is such uncharted territory with no rules. I will be following your blog and I look forward to learning from your experiences in your journey! I will be creating my blog very soon as time permits with three children etc… Maybe you can give me some pointers! 🙂 God bless you! And pour that next cup of coffee! 🙂

    • crazymom2011 says:

      You have an amazing story. I do hope you will find the time and energy to blog. It is difficult, but also therapeutic. Thank you so much for reading. The post was the hardest I’ve written, but I felt compelled. I almost scratched it several times. I’m very sorry for you and your family. Keep making your coffee … I will be watching for your blogs!

  3. I remember feeling that way when I found out my 19 year old sister was killed in a car accident. Shock was followed immediately by denial when my husband told me. I just remember thinking, “This happens to other people, not me.”
    I really appreciate you sharing this. -Jennifer

    • crazymom2011 says:

      You are so right, Jennifer, and I’m sorry for your loss. Keep up your good work of finding amazing joy in the little things of life (and sharing them thru your blog!).

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