Sarah Krieger’s son Fritz was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. She reflects on the lessons she has learned since receiving her son’s diagnosis one year ago. One of the most important lessons Sarah has learned is that it is okay to grieve.
The Importance Of Grieving
“So to those who have recently received a life-changing diagnosis, if there is one thing I’ve learned in this first year after Fritz’s diagnosis, it has been the importance of grief,” says Sarah. She continues by saying to be sure to take time to grieve. You can grieve alone but also try to communicate your feelings with family members because chances are they are grieving too.
“Communicate. Share your thoughts and what you’re feeling. Your grief is valid and you need to feel it, you need to talk about it, you need to process it.”
Sarah admits her grief was initially over the diagnosis, but it did not stop there. She grieved what Duchenne’s meant for her son, what it meant for her as a mother and what it meant for the whole family.
Strength Is More Than A Muscle
Ashley says another lesson that was learned by her entire family is that strength is more than a muscle. “In our home we believe strength is grieving. Strength is letting yourself cry. Strength is sharing your fears. Strength is determination. Strength is awareness. Strength is community. Strength is taking the time. Strength is being thankful. Strength is helping others, especially when it’s not convenient. Strength is being present. And strength is honesty.”
A year since her son’s diagnosis, Ashley says she no longer spends her days, nights, and weeks grieving. However, she does grieve in moments. She states, “Circumstances or instances often spark the harsh realization of what Duchenne means for Fritz, but I allow myself to grieve in those moments, knowing that even though they are but small little sparks, if I let them build, they can quickly become one big fire that will burn up every aspect of our life, even the good things.” Ashley gives an example of a circumstance when her son is at the park and trying to climb on playground equipment.
“But it’s in that grief I find I’m still growing. I’m still learning, and I’m becoming more and more equipped to fight for my son.”
Ashley says that grief has brought her to a new sense of community. “Grief has allowed me to meet, learn about and be thankful for the many mom-warriors who have spent so much time and energy raising awareness and getting research to where it is today.”
“Grieving isn’t easy, but anything worth doing usually isn’t. It’s in this last that year that I’ve been forced to recognize that grief doesn’t grow your fears or heartache … grief lets you process those things, then in turn, it grows you.”
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