One particular part of Dr. Bradley's book affected me profoundly. It was the chapter on grief..esp. top of pg 104 and even more, the description of a therapy session with a mom who carried the picture of her smiling daughter and in which Dr. Bradley realized she was trying to show him hope deeply she felt the loss of "that" child.
I had been wondering why I couldn't stop thinking about the loss of my mom, which happened 20 some years ago. I was going to sleep crying, waking up crying, not wanting to socialize and had that general heavy, heavy feeling pressing down on me. I had gone through the very near loss of my son, but he survived. What I had not anticipated was how everything would change after that incident and how, the person that I had always known my son to be would now only be seen in flashes. Our world had turned upside-down.
Until I read that paragraph, I hadn't attached a word to what I was feeling. As soon as I read "grief", I knew that was what it was. A grief as deep and crushing as when I lost my mom unexpectedly. I knew then that it felt exactly the same. Perhaps even worse because it was not grief alone, but grief tempered by extreme fear, post traumatic stress, and nightmares, all at a time when I was going to be faced with on my toes crisis management for the next 6 months. On the surface, I was doing the right thing, addressing each new issue as it arose, calling in help, working with an excellent school counselor, getting us into therapy, restructuring things at home to ensure his safety, providing close and loving support to his younger brother who was equally devastated by the event, but inside, I felt like a devastated, empty machine....one that was on autopilot.
When I read the book and the realization hit that I was in the middle of intense grief, I can't tell you how much relief it provided. Just knowing what it was and why it was helped so much. I only wish I had read this book earlier and not toward the end of the situation.
I do think it points out a huge area of need. Parental support is absolutely critical. We need to support each other and to get over the "hmm....what did those parents do to have their kids get in this situation" routine and to instead help to develop better realization of the grieving process, and hurt that parents of teens that are in trouble feel as well as reaching out to those going through similar situations.
Dr. Bradley's forum is one way to address that. I know I am considerably enlightened from what I was prior to going through this. It is a topic that needs to be more fully explored.