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Westberg's Guide Posts through Grief

  1. Shock and denial - helps a person to absorb the sense of loss without being totally overwhelmed. May be numbness or a 'moving like a robot' feeling. Will possibly not believe the diagnosis or remember details of the conversation with the experts.
  2. Immediate feelings - fear, sadness, pain, exhausted, anxious, fightened, surprised, guilty, helpless, withdraven, uncertain, confused, bereft, self analytical, angry, self-pitying, drained, burdened, judged, isolated, etc.
  3. Physiological changes - gastrointestional disturvbances such as nausea, vomiting, pain, problems sleeping, headaches; chestpain. Bottling things up can increase stress on the body.
  4. Depression - all is dark and gloomy, life feels like a nightmare, hard to cope, hight anxiety, questioning "Is life worth it?"
  5. Guilt - tormenting self about failings, regrets and feelings of remorse. "Is it something I did or didn't do that caused this disability?" "How can i resent my own child?"
  6. Anger, resentment, rage need to be expressed. "It's unfair!" Feelings of being let down, abandoned, isolated, misunderstood, alone... Need to come to reconcile self, others, the situation, the child, before turning the corner.
  7. Idealisation: Holding onto the past and revering it as best, Convinced life can never be good again When energy is locked into "what was" there is none available to develop the future.
  8. Realisation: Starting to accept the bad with the good, starting to have hope that the future will hold good with the bad. That, maybe, despite the loss of dreqms and expectations, there might be some room for and expectance of positive things happening.
  9. New Patterns: new routines begin to emerge and there is a focus on new thinking. Reasons are found to get up each morning and go on with life. Discovery of ways to wrok with the disability/loss.
  10. Integration: The sense of loss becomes part of the fabric of life and the family/person/parent has 'adjusted'. At times the feelings of sadness may still occur and certain events may trigger a further grief journey which may be travelled more quickly as the person/parent draws on previous experience and coping strategies

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