Today as I am talking with someone about grief and about Shayna’s transition, she mentions that for the first year after losing a child, the parents are in shock and the second year can be even worse than the first as the grief really hits home and they begin to deal with it. Wow, I think. I sure hope that is not true. Certainly I have been shocked, rocked to my core by Shayna’s transition, but if the next year, we haven’t even crossed year one, is going to be worse, well I don’t think I can do that.
But, this is one of those generalities that isn’t true about everyone. We can handle and process more than one emotion at a time. Dealing with the shock doesn’t preclude grieving and at any given time I may be feeling one or both. Denial passed a long time ago. It’s denial that can keep us from dealing with the other phases we have to go through. I think that for both Ty and I the comfort of denial was one that was rare. Shayna was such an integral part of our daily lives, particularly so after Kayla went off to college. There are few moments in the day when we wouldn’t have had Shayna on our minds, getting her up for school, driving her to school, picking her up from school, taking her to volleyball practice, having dinner with her, forcing her to go to bed (running her out of our room every night was a ritual she would never go to bed without doing). My mind turns to Shayna’s absence dozens of times a day. For us parents who lose a minor child one that was still so dependent on us, I think (I hope) the shock passes more quickly, or at least the denial. And, we’re on to Phase II whatever that is.