It’s taken me years to be able to grieve. No, I should say it has taken me years to be able to grieve in a manner that is not debilitating. It only takes one, you lose one person close to you and it sets in motion a lifetime of grieving that will only be compounded by the addition of more loss. We add loss, it happens to everyone. Once you have loss, you can’t get rid of it. Lose a parent, gain a child… you are still down one life. So we learn to manage it. We learn to manage our grief so that our grief does not manage us. I know all about being riddled with grief having lost both of my parents. A physical, mental, and spiritual breakdown of all things YOU. A crippling of your will, a weakening of your drive, a proverbial dampening of your powder… you can never be quite ready.
Three years after the passing of my mother, I am finally showing signs of life. A new man? Not quite, but a better man than the one I once was. Loss has a way of proving to you what is important, and it surprises you with revelations of what is now extraneous. I could write about the process for the next two years, but I’ve only come here to share a program that I owe my sanity and resilience to. It’s called GriefShare and it is very likely being held in a neighborhood near you.
So my description of it would be a group facilitated by people who have experienced a significant loss, that is geared towards people struggling to get on with life after losing a loved one. It is very much (Christian) faith based, but all are welcome. You start with a 20 minute video, then a discussion about the days topic (presented by the video), followed by some personal sharing if anyone is interested. It’s typically a weekly meet-up that will run about 14 weeks, the frequency and duration being very important in building relationships and camaraderie within the group. Answering “how was your week?” is much easier than answering “how was your month?”, a monthly group would have never sufficed for me. I can’t stress enough how important it is to set time aside to grieve and work through your emotions. If you are anything like me you will push it deep down inside and let your feelings see as little daylight as possible. This often results in sporadic grief sneak attacks. I’ve found that setting aside a time to focus on my grief makes those surprise attacks few and far between. GriefShare is that time for me, it’s my weekly time of reflection and purposeful focus.
I’ve just started my 3rd round of GriefShare, there is absolutely no maximum number of times you should go through this process. Every moment of it helps. When you’ve gone through the GriefShare process you won’t simply know how to help yourself, but you will find that you are also able to help others that are struggling to cope with grief. If you do find a group and it has already started, go anyway. You can jump in at any week and it will still be very beneficial.
Now I often say this last part, but I never get a response. I am always available to anyone that has lost someone and am open to discussing what I’ve gone through as well as helping you find what may work in assisting your grief journey. I am also willing to just listen. You can be a stranger, you can be a friend, it does not matter to me. I am here to help. If you have my number, use it. If we are friends on Facebook, message me.
For everyone else: firstname.lastname@example.org