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People grieving can go back and forth between stages as they work through them. While my family members struggled with the first four stages of grief, I only struggled with one. The respirator made her lungs expand and collapse – it gave the impression she was breathing. Acceptance, the final stage, can take years to reach and some people may never reach it. Even though a piece of my heart wanted to believe that she was still “in there”, my brain knew she was gone.
I had spent the days after her death helping and planning and doing for others. It would not allow my heart to fantasize that some day she might come back to us. For the loss of all of the things she will never do. In my head I imagined we were all given a “pitcher” of grief. Everything was a reminder that she was gone and that fact was too much for my heart to bear. I’ve worked in corporate America most of my adult life.No one warned me about narcissism in the workplace, because 30 years ago, no one knew to do such a thing.In my last blog, Goodbye Small Fry, I talked about the death of my niece Vanessa. There were a few scattered articles on explaining death to your aspie child. Those who had experienced a loss were very supportive, but many of those who did not have a similar experience could not relate. A facet that maybe only we are capable of feeling – Internal Conflict. In almost all instances in our lives, logic automatically overrides emotion.
I shared the story of her loss so you could see what a profound loss it was. They wanted to, but without any personal experience, it was difficult for them. I understand all too well how it feels to not be able to ‘be there’ because you cannot understand – no matter how bad you want to. The brain prevails over the heart almost every time and the heart stays quiet.
Do we experience grief the same way that neuro-typical people do? Where they had four glasses to pour their grief into, I only had the one and I couldn’t stop it from overflowing. I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. My brain, on the other hand, argued non-stop: “ Of course, my brain was right.
These were my questions as I struggled to understand my personal grief when my niece died last October. For individuals with Asperger’s, I believe there is another facet of grief that we feel. All of these things were true, yet I was stuck in this looping cycle between my brain and my heart.
According to the web, these stages are universal: experienced by . I can only speak from my own experience, but as a person with Asperger’s, I disagree. No one would have ever thought “aneurysm” in an otherwise healthy sixteen year old girl.
They can be experienced in any order and with varying levels of intensity. As heartbroken as I was, I did not feel I experienced grief the same way as my neurotypical family members did. Connected to a respirator and different monitors, she appeared to be sleeping. I watched as others felt angry at varying things, but I could not feel anger.
You are then told that you wrote the instructions wrong – your supervisor will read them, immediately see where he or she screwed up and rather than own accountability, will deflect blame to you, stating YOU misunderstood and your notes are wrong. It feels as though you are constantly being thrown under the bus by a co-worker, but you are never able to actually prove it. Several co-workers are also thrown under the bus and they have the same issue. You know you are doing your job well and correctly.