Sep 29 7:43pm – I draw a great deal of support and knowledge from the time that I spend once a week with new friends at GriefShare. I also, now, am benefiting from my contact and association with the good people at Haven. Don’t worry – I’m not trying to OD on grief support groups. It just happens that GriefShare was able to take care of me beginning a month or so ago and Haven just started up today (Sat). I had researched and contacted both awhile back for support and they both graciously responded and encouraged me to get involved. GriefShare meets on Wed nights and Haven meets on Sat afternoons.
Frankly, I like meeting because I have someone I can talk to and listen with – all are walking the exact same path that I am walking right now. All these people get it because they have been there and they feel and are experiencing the same things that I am feeling and experiencing. GriefShare is for those who have lost a loved one – not just a spouse, necessarily – and Haven is specifically for those who have lost their spouse. So far, I highly recommend both if you need this kind of support in your grieving.
From my time today with Haven:
- Eight women, two men (I’m one of them), and three facilitators
- Several participants had spouses who suffered for a period of time with a disease or ailment of some kind before passing – several experienced spousal sudden death
- Most all have children – some grown but some have teenagers (middle school and up) still at home living with them
- Some are retired and some are employed full-time
- Some lost spouses as recently as in the last month – some a year or two ago
- Tears flow freely – some laughter, too
- The facilitators are experienced, gentle, kind, and understanding – not pushy and they encourage all of us to talk or listen, as necessary and able
- “Be around people who give you energy – stay away from people who take your energy away”
- “Just because I lost my significant other doesn’t mean that I am not special – very special”
- “Relationships will change – count on it”
- “The hardest part of it may be coming home after a long day to an empty house”
- “For many, the car is the safest place to cry. Just don’t crash!”
- We were asked to bring a small piece of spousal memorabilia next week – to talk about and share
Again, my intent is not to book my schedule with grieving people every day and night of the week. But I will say, I get more encouragement and strength from a room of hurting people just a few hours a week who know exactly what I am feeling and experiencing than weeks or months of ‘feel good’ words and activities from some who have yet to experience life-changing loss.
It isn’t that I don’t appreciate well-meaning people (oh my goodness – I love all of you so much!) but I guess some of us are now different. Our lives have been shaped in a way that can only happen once the first time – and when it happens it is forever and ever soul-changing.
Life will swim on and we will all learn to get along and heal together so no worries there. But this is a very special time for me. Along with my fellow walkers at GriefShare and Haven, I will learn to be a different person now. I will learn to enter into new relationships and, perhaps, modify some of the old ones. I hope to now be able to empathize and sympathize more. I expect to be happy again but next time around it will be tempered with the reality of life. I want to appreciate more the mornings and the babies and healthy relationships and books and friendship. I desire to listen carefully and better when you speak to me about your hurts and worries.
And I hope and pray that my fellow passengers at GriefShare and Haven will find peace. Lots of peace.