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Grieving Your Loss and Loving Your "New" Children Grieving Your Loss and Loving Your "New" Children

Comments [9]

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[Nicole Wight] We had lots of nurses, and this one nurse that I don't remember her name, she had come in and was talking to me about their recovery and things like that. I was just having a horrible moment as usual, and she said, "You need to let go of this." Because I think I kept saying they're going to get better. They're going to wake up. He's going to wake up, and everything's going to be fine. He's going to wake up, and you had a lot of family members that are trying to give you hope the best way they know how. I think it was a lot of he's going to wake up and be like hi mom and I'm okay because you don't know what your expectations should be. This nurse, I think, might have overheard all of that over and over again and came in and said, "You need to let go of that because it's not going to happen." She said, "It almost never happens in cases like this." She said, "The children that you had, you need to treat them like they've died. "You need to grieve those children. You love those children, but you lost them. "They're not going to wake up and ever be those kids again. You have new kids. "You have new kids that are going to have special needs. "You have new kids that are going to be different, and you need to embrace that and accept that and treat them as new children. Don't keep trying to expect them to be the old kids because they're never going to be that ever again." That took me years, years to kind of come to grips with because you do. You hold onto how they used to be and the kids that you had and the little boy that didn't have the scar on his head and the scars on his belly, that didn't need glasses, that didn't need eye surgery, all these things. The little girl that didn't have all these other issues. They have them now, and they are. They're really different kids. I struggled with that for years and years because you're their mom. You don't want to let them go. At the same time it's hard to find a place for that grief because they didn't die. You can't grieve it as though it's a loss. You don't fit in with the parents that have lost a child, and you kind of don't really fit in with a lot of the special needs parents either because a lot of the parents that you meet there, their kids were born with a disability or born with something different about them, whereas you're thrust into this, and you don't know what to do. Your kids are 6 and 4. It's not like they're babies, and you were pregnant with them the whole time knowing what to expect. This is totally different than that. It was really hard to figure all that out and grow to accept it.

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Nicole Wight talks about the wrenching pain and difficulty that was accepting the fact that although her two kids did not die in the car crash, they would never again be the same.

See more video clips with Nicole Wight.

Produced by Christian Lindstrom, Justin Rhodes, and Amy Joseph, BrainLine.

Nicole WightIn August 2006, Nicole Wight’s mother and her two children were in a terrible car crash. Both children sustained severe traumatic brain injuries. Her mother did not survive.

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Comments [9]

I completely understand. I have from the beginning said we lost our son. We gained a new child. It has been 8 years for us. Jeremy is no way the same person. In the beginning he was so violent. That has some what stabalized. But this Jeremy is so out going. He hugs everyone, does so much with Special Olympics. He will never have the life that we all wanted him to have. He is ok with that. He has made many strides. Still faces many health challenges daily. But everyday we thank god for giving us a new person.

Jul 16th, 2014 6:16pm

My son is a TBI survivor of 7 yrs out. God has given us two Jacobs to love In this lifetime. The one we knew for 20 yrs and the one we have now.

Mar 2nd, 2014 1:58pm

I can't tell you how much it means to me knowing that I'm not alone in this kind of grief.

Mar 2nd, 2014 1:44pm

I too have a son who was so full of life and love. Not one person he met didn't love him. He's unable to talk or move " with purpose" as the say. I believe with all my heart that he will one day. He is here and still projects love only with his eyes but you can "feel" it. I can't help but think that one day people locked in themselves will lead others in some way!

Mar 2nd, 2014 1:16pm

This video hit the nail on the head. I hit a telephone pole back in 2000. Coma 3 months, Dr.'s put on my paperwork "patient not expected to survive" I now have brain damage. I now, and have been over the years grieving the loss of memory, walking, and a lot of friendships.  DON'T EVER GIVE UP! 

Mar 2nd, 2014 1:05pm

I did an interview about my son who has TBI from cardiac arrest  I used this same words I grieved my son Michael Hubbard and I still am it will be 3 years this May. Thank you for sharing this video because a lot of people think I'm crazy saying my birth child died and this is a new child but in your mind it's a way to cope. God bless

Mar 2nd, 2014 12:01pm

This is probably the most difficult, yet most powerful advice that the caregivers of TBI survivors receive. Our son Matt was 20 with all the potential of a smart, healthy, funny college student. His TBI devistated that potential. Our bright and beautiful son was gone, replaced by a disabled, confused, almost helpless adult child.  When he began to be aware of what had happened he immediately insisted that we call him Matthew. He told us, "Matt died in that accident.  I am Matthew now, the same, but different than before, and I'm OK with that.  I hope you can be."  How powerful that he made that statement to us.  Now, almost 6 yrs later, he has come a long way.  Matthew is a lot like "Matt" but we have had to accept that he will never be the same.  We are proud to be Matthew's parents. Even though his dad has never truly accepted the finality of this adjustment he is starting to related to his son as a person, rather than a victim of a horrible accident.  We're all growing through this process. 


Jan 16th, 2014 3:40pm

I absolutely luv these videos - finally found someone I can relate to - a similar brain injury my grand daughter suffered - especially loved the one about laughter being the highest brain function

Nov 16th, 2013 2:04pm

True words..Many don't understand that yes, our son is here with us, yet we grieve. The football player, soccer player, weightlifting wrestler, college student, outdoor loving, future teacher is gone. He looks much the same, but is not able to speak, or move..or share a meal. We love him, care for him daily..and we grieve the son who is gone. And some think us lucky, and tell us we are wrong to grieve.

Nov 16th, 2013 12:41pm


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