Eight years ago, our sixteen-year-old son suffered a severe traumatic brain injury playing high school football and instantly became severely disabled for life. Our family has experienced a lot of loss, and I grieved much, but I have also experienced the nearness of God in suffering.
There is no one better at living in the present and enjoying life as it comes, yet Zach needs 24-hour care and support to accomplish basic tasks like walking and eating. He has a unique ability to sense intuitively when something is wrong with me, sometimes even before I am aware of it; yet regarding himself, he can’t get the words out to tell us what he needs. He is happy most of the time, but there is no hope for returning to school, falling in love, working to support himself, or having a family.
Dealing with the losses related to Zach’s injury has been complicated. There are dichotomies. He lifts the spirits of everyone he meets and they walk away full—but five minutes later he doesn’t remember meeting them. I devoured books on grief, but most of them dealt with death. I found little help for the kind of grief we faced.
Finally, I was introduced to the term ambiguous loss.