Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good Grief ???

I decided in February to attend a grief group sponsored by the local hospital system.  Life with Cancer was the program at the hospital that helped when Rick was admitted to the oncology ward.  The grief group was for anyone who had lost a loved-one to cancer; it was eight weeks long and was moderated by a person who had been through the process before.

Good Grief for Adults, 8-week series
Join with others who have experienced the loss of a loved one with
cancer within the past two years to discuss and explore the grieving
 process, accepting and expressing emotions, dealing with children,
family and friends, role and lifestyle changes and coping with special

It was a strange experience to walk into a room of people who had all lost someone.  Most of the people in the room were over 60 and had lost spouses.  A man and woman in their twenties had lost a parent and about ten of us were widowed.

When I came in the room there were only a few people that had arrived.  A very tall gentleman walked in at the same time and we sat down at the table and chit chatted while we waited to begin. 

Tom had also been widowed; his wife had died in March the year before. Tom was Catholic and Irish just like me; he was friendly and talking with him put me at ease. We exchanged some details of our losses and then the meeting began.

Megan, the moderator introduced herself and told the short story of her being widowed and how she had attended this group as a participant.  She then invited us to go around the room and share our names and quick story.

I always felt that I was quite fortunate in my circumstances.  Yes, Rick was dead and I had two children but I had two children, my reason for getting up in the morning, my reason for living, my reason for being happy with whatever God brought me next.  I sat listening to these people and my heart broke for them.  Many described their loneliness, their depression, their emptiness; I found it difficult to keep from crying right along with them.

Diane walked into the meeting late; I saw Tom look at her as she walked in the room.  She apologized for being late and sat down and joined in with introducing herself and then the meeting continued.  Diane talked about her husband who had suffered from cancer for three years who had only died in December.

I went last and told them about Rick’s cancer and quick death.  They were all horrified that I had two young children.  Several of them said how hard it must be caring for the boys alone. I was quick to tell them that my loss was a loss, no greater or less than theirs; each a huge burden that left a gaping hole in our lives.  Hearing how others coped with their loss made me look at my loss in a different way.

My mother used to always say, “It could always be worse!”  Live examples of that were sitting right across from me at the table. 

My mind was stirred by all the talk and discussion of those we lost.  We did one writing activity before we left and that was to make a list of five things we wanted to accomplish in the next five years.  We wrote them to ourselves and didn’t have to share them but the idea was to set some goals for our future.  As I sat there writing, I thought the list was a little out there.  Then, we were given exercises to complete and return at the next session. 

No comments:

Post a Comment