Where Grief Is Welcome and Understood
By Rev. Dr. Michael Robinson, Chaplain, Genesis Grief Support Coordinator
Grief is a natural and normal way of coming to terms with your loss.
Solitary experiences are frightening to most of us, none more so than that of rebuilding life after the loss of a loved one. Particularly so, this is true when this loss is that special someone who has been your life’s companion for more than thirty, forty or fifty years. This solitary experience of fear meets a compassionate community each week in what is called a grief support group appropriately named Companions in Grief’s Journey.
Appropriately Named Companions In Grief’s Journey
The depth of your grief is a reflection of your capacity to love.
Why attend a grief support group? Within this support group many friendships are made, and are bound together by the shared experience of love, relationship and the loss in our lives. This is an opportunity to share memories of a beautiful life. A sense of gratitude is abundant as story after story is told of how romances began and how now, love is maintained with the joy of children and grandchildren--or with lasting connections with the one who has moved beyond physical reach.
Frustrations are also expressed. One person tells of dealing with what it feels when facing what seems like an endless array of paperwork, another of confusing decisions of when or if to move to another house. What should be done with clothing that is no longer needed? Others share the extraordinary sadness of children missing their suddenly absent mother or father.
These frustrations are coupled with a multitude of questions and manifestations of grief. Such as, am I eating too much or am I eating too little? Am I sleeping too much or am I not sleeping at all? Am I going “crazy” because I still have conversations with my husband or wife even though they have been gone for six or more months? What do I do with friends who want to fix me up with a date when I just want to scream at the very suggestion?
Healthy Steps on the Road
How do I cope in the pain of missing my loved one at special times like our first anniversary, his or her birthday, or special holidays that symbolize love, relationship and connectedness? What is there to celebrate? How deeply and in how many ways can one person miss another?
Feelings not common to daily life before this kind of loss are overwhelming and painful, yet common. All these feelings are welcome and understood at a grief support group. Many participants will admit their awkwardness and embarrassment at tears that seem to have no end. Tears and feelings of emptiness are natural to the experience of grief and, in reality, are themselves natural responses on the road to what is now a navigation of the new normal.
Know That the Road Is Wide
Explore, share, and process your feelings as you receive comfort
in companionship with others.
Each person must respond to their own grief because only he or she knows what is being experienced and how best others can help. Being honest with one’s self about what you are thinking, how you are feeling, what you are doing and why is encouraged at a grief support group. Communicating this with others is facilitated, allowing others to help by normalizing shared experiences, encouraging influences, and caring support. Sharing your personal experience with your losses is actually a necessary process for finding healing and hope.
If you find yourself in this period of grief, know that the road is wide and that the door to a grief support group is always open. Take a risk and join us. These support groups are hosted by Genesis Grief Support specialists in Quad Cities facilities. Each is a free ongoing weekly grief support group available at various locations and times. Contact Genesis Grief Support at 563-421-5000 or click here to find out more about beginning on the road toward healing.