Friday, April 8, 2011
The Hard Work of Grieving
The Grief Group was hard work; it forced us all to look into our memories and deal with our feelings. I made Jack go to a group too. It had taken place in the fall at the same facility but of course, it was for children. He was madder than a hornet with me. I was concerned about him and I didn’t want to get down the road and think, “Gee, it would have been a really good idea to send him to a grief group, too bad I didn’t.”
When it was over he told me, “You know it sucked, Mom? I hated going.” I said, “Jack, it was a grief group. Were you expecting it to be fun?” He wasn’t quite as amused as me. He made several projects to memorialize Rick and brought in some pictures to help share his feelings. Jack was very proud of the choices he made and what he shared about his dad. In the end, it was good thing to do, even if he went kicking and screaming. Sometimes the mom just has to be the mom.
I brought my grieving hat to share with the group at one point. They had a good laugh. I told them that it people what it was. The shrink later explained about desensitizing myself to Rick’s death by talking about him and letting the feelings go.
We bonded over our grief in that room. It was hard to listen to the stories, most were tender and raw. With all the grief spread out all over the room, it didn’t seem as overwhelming. It was encouraging to know that I wasn’t nuts and that others had similar thoughts and feelings.
Over the course of the eight week,s the focus shifted from memorializing to looking to the future. This was important in the work of grieving. I found it hard to let go of the dreams and aspirations that Rick and I had together. For almost 15 years my future included him as a major player. Allowing me to see a future without Rick almost seemed a betrayal. There was something very powerful in me saying don't let go. It is confusing; no one can answer the question when is enough time enough, for grief, for feeling sad and devastated. No one gives you permission to be okay; you have to give yourself permission. This was one of the reasons for writing goals for the future; I'm not sure I dared to write a list on my own about a future without Rick.
We had the option at the last meeting to share our lists. It was interesting to hear the thinking of others. Each of us had a different take on the steps we might take.
Here is my list:
1. Move to a new house
2. Take sailing lessons
3. Buy a sailboat
4. Begin dating
The eight weeks dragged in the beginning but seemed to fly at the end. The group became very comfortable with each other and we were sad to see it end. I had become friends with both Tom and Diane; we planned to stay in contact with each other. It was cathartic to have done the hard work of grieving.