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Just Cry

May 31, 2012
by Maria Spencer ,

We all try to be superheroes for our kids, always "on" and ready for the next thing they may need. We feel as though if we let ourselves come down from this constant mode of "special parenthood" that things will fall apart - and we will be failures.

I know firsthand that being in this state for any length of time is completely draining and saps you of every ounce of energy, which is not good for you or your child.

I firmly believe that sometimes we need permission to just let it all out and call it what it is. Raising a child with special needs can be extremely taxing on every area of our lives, from our energy levels, to our ability to parent our typical kids, to our role as a spouse, etc.

My prayer for you this month is that you will give yourself permission to grieve if you want to grieve and to cry if you want to cry. I say it often, but at the moment we learned our kids were differently-abled in some way, we began the grieving process. Just as one grieves the loss of a loved one who has left this earth, we grieve the loss of the typical child we dreamed of. All of our typical hopes for our child's future came to a halt, and we had to deal with all of the emotions; we didn't have a choice. At the same time, we had to jump into survival mode - learn everything about our child's needs, get interventions lined up, make sure they had all the resources and physicians they needed, etc.

If you've ever had someone close to you pass away, you know how hard it is to deal with the pain, and how you never think you will survive it. Now imagine that on top of all the sadness surrounding it all, that you all of a sudden have to go right into survival mode. No time to think, no time to waste; our child needs us.

That's what all of us did.

Ask yourself if you truly went through the stages of grief - shock, denial, anger, sadness, and acceptance. Did you allow yourself to feel it all?

I think we all feel that we can't allow ourselves to go back to any of the beginning stages of grief, or we will not be able to move on, which is not true. Many times, without warning, we can go in and out of these stages and still survive. We have all been there or will be there.

What I've learned in this process is that if we don't listen to our feelings and let them out, they eventually, slowly, continually begin to seep out onto everything and everyone around us.

If you feel like crying - just cry. It's OK.

Christian singer Mandisa's song "Just Cry" says it perfectly:

"Why you gotta act so strong?

Go ahead and take off your brave face

Why you telling me that nothing's wrong

It's obvious you're not in a good place

Who's telling you to keep it all inside?

And never let those feelings

Get past the corner of your eye

You don't need to run

You don't need to speak

Baby take some time

Let those prayers roll down your cheek

It may be tomorrow

You'll be past the sorrow

But tonight it's alright

Just cry"

You're allowed to grieve. You're allowed to cry. It doesn't mean you love your child any less and it doesn't make you a bad parent.

Once we let it out - as often as we need to - we actually become better parents. When we admit that we are human and we have bad days too, we can see our world a little clearer. We can then dream new dreams for our children. We can have new hopes, and find our new "normal."

After we let out our emotions, we can see this new normal we have created in our families and within ourselves, and realize this new outlook on life is actually even better than it would've been if our child was typically developing. We see the world with new eyes and a beautiful, new perspective.

Acceptance is the goal, but without the sadness and crying, we can never fully come to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Allow yourself to express all the feelings that come along with this amazing task that we were chosen for, and know that it's OK to give up your superhero cape once in awhile and just cry.



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