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My assignment for group next week is to bring in a photo that best represents my beloved Jordan. I can barely look at his photo without feeling depressed and missing what we had . I don’t know how I’m going to get through that meeting. Also I am the youngest one in the group every one is so much older and I’m 52 . Should I not go ? I’m so torn because everyone was so much older I felt like an intruder  in a room full of grandparents and people that were married so long . Please advise? Any ideas?

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Tony, that is what I have problems with, pictures of Billy.  I wonder if that ever will change.  I would also like to listen to more music.  I could not listen at first at all, I think I would have cried to that crazy "What Does the Fox Say" and slowly I added in The Eagles and The Band, but Billy hated Elvis, would not listen to him (the main musician from our teenage years), so I was positive I could listen to something he hated.  Nope, cried and had to take the CD out.  I can only listen to music when I am driving.  I keep a roll of towels by my chair anyhow and this is about 27 months from the time he left.  Good luck.  

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Tony, I would also speak to the leader about this at the next group you go to or whoever thought of this.  It sounds like this might not be the right group for you all in all, but only you can make that call.  There are many posts here that are hard for me not having children or grand kids or family support.  Some discussions I read but have no feedback as they are not Something I can relate to.  All in all it is the the diversity is what makes me feel I fit here.

Each persons grief has its own path and you don’t sound ready for this yet.  Did you hear any feedback from other members?  I also don’t like the word assignment.  Your post itself says this is not something for you.  Causing more pain is the last thing we need.  

If it were me, I would not go.  Even if I didn’t bring a picture, listening to others who may not be ready but do it and it is too much for them would be very upsetting to me.  Each persons grief is like a river with its own speeds and turns.  Putting everyone on the same one feels counterproductive.  This has nothing to do with age.  It’s about what we feel in our heart and that is our guide.

I feel you have answered your own question.   

 

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2 hours ago, TONY said:

Should I not go ?

I'm sorry Tony, I got no further than the pictures.  Now I went up and read the whole thing.  I went to grief group and there were no men.  My Christian widow friend went with me the first time, really to  introduce me.  I left the first time feeling bad.  So many were people that had lost children and I am at a loss on how to  handle that and hope I never learn.  I think like Gwen says (and I have not read all of hers yet either), but to me (and this is just to myself), if it makes me feel uncomfortable, I will avoid it..  This grief meeting I went to was one that has helped many people.  But, if something makes me feel worse than when I began, I won't go back, and that includes doctors.  Like she said, we all have different paths.  I understand her path, and I am one with grandchildren and grown children and a sister that I have to help.  All of us are different, but if it feels wrong, if it hurts me more, I won't do it.  Some might find that wrong, but I have to do what is best for me, what I can handle.  I think you are the best judge of what you can handle and what you can't.  I started in the cancer survivors meetings and went one time.  Knew I could not  handle it.  That was just me.  I hurt bad enough, I don't want to hurt more.

As an addendum, I would like to say I am not scared of groups.  I did just fine in psychiatry group therapy, in fact, probably enjoyed it better than one on one therapy with doctor.  And finishing reading, Gwen, that was a very good answer.

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Tony, I don't know the qualifications of the person who leads this group, but if he or she is professionally qualified, I would suggest contacting the person before the next group session to express your concerns ~ not only about the "assignment," but also about whether the composition of the group is best suited to your individual needs. Ordinarily I would suggest attending at least three group meetings before deciding whether to leave or to stay, because (if this is an open group ~ that is, of the "drop in" variety) each group can vary depending on who attends it. But still, the bottom line is exactly what Gwen and Marg are telling you: You alone get to decide what works for you or not, and if you don't feel comfortable or safe in this or any other situation, you have every right to leave or decide not to return. You know yourself better than anyone else does, and your grief and how you cope with it belongs to you alone.

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Hi Tony, I understand your feelings. I went to a support grour for a while but they focused a lot on the bible and passages that they hoped would ease the members pain. After attending six sessions I found the group was not for me. I feel that if you are still too uncomfortable to view pictures, the group leader should take that as it is. If you feel you are dreading your next group meeting then perhaps that' not a good fit for you. It has taken me a year and a half to look at LC's picture and to listen and enjoy music again. You are not alone in the way you feel if that brings any comfort.

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Tony,

I lead a grief support group and all of them are older than me, but they've never made me feel invalidated or out of place because of it, we are all going through the same thing, loss of our partner that we love.  We don't force anyone to do anything they aren't comfortable to do, bringing a picture should be up to you, if you're not ready for it, don't.  This should not be something you have to dread, lord knows you have enough pain, you don't need more, it should be a place of comfort, encouragement, strengthening, a place where you feel others "get it".  If it doesn't feel that way, maybe look for another group.

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Tony I'm in no place to give advice but know a marriage is about the love and not about the years, l'm 60 and was married 36yrs and feel that if I lost Maggie the day after we met my sense of lose would not have been any less then I feel now, your words of love and lose feel the same as mine friend your apprehension about a support groups is shared with me and I can not find the courage to even go to one so anything that I say on that should be taken with a grain of salt and you need to do what works for you I like the give it three times idea and as soon as I can find the strength I will go give it a try ~PEACE

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And if something doesn't sound right to you, ask the counselor about it, you don't have to stick it out three times if it feels completely wrong, try another one.  Right after my husband died I went several sessions to a grief counselor, he said he was, turns out he considered himself all that but he wasn't, he might have been a good drug counselor, but that I didn't need, ask if they have a degree in Thanatology.

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I went to a group at abt 3 ms. It wasn't horrible but it wasn't even close to being as helpful as the one-on-one sharing I experience with others who have lost a soulmate. Partly that was because there were also people who had lost children or parents and, NOT to minimize that, it wasn't my issue. Also some members were too closed up to share and others would go on endlessly without any control from the leader.

In AA we have a saying for everything and one is "Some groups spread the message and some groups spread the disease". Without going all negative, be aware that you may have a 100% legit reason to avoid or quit a particular group. My experience is that it's very helpful to seek out individuals with similar losses as a support network. I have 3 good friends who recently lost their soulmates and a fourth woman friend with a husband, also a friend, with terminal cancer. I talk to them a lot and it's more helpful than the group was.

Then there are our wonderful virtual friends...

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11 minutes ago, TomPB said:

In AA we have a saying for everything and one is "Some groups spread the message and some groups spread the disease".

Thank you, Tom, for sharing this insightful statement, which is spot-on. Support groups are like everything else in life: some are excellent and extremely beneficial, and some can be downright dangerous, depending on the composition of the group and the skills and experience of the group leader. See, for example, Grief Support Groups: Positives and Pitfalls

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Good point, Tom!  And Marty, great article, a good checklist for any group support leader to go through.  Most people aren't ready to tackle a grief support group the first week of loss, but people vary as to "when" they are ready.  I'd say a lot of us aren't ready the first couple of months, we worry about derailing a group by not being able to hold it together and might not feel comfortable crying in front of strangers.  As to the "when", I think we'll know within ourselves when we're ready to try something like that.

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Yes, Kay ~ A support group requires its members to be ready and able to tolerate and attend not only to their own pain, but to the pain and sorrow of their fellow members. That is one of the benefits of ~ and differences from ~ individual, one-on-one grief counseling: members not only receive support from others, but have an opportunity to offer their own support to other members. In the early and acute phases of loss,  when one is in survival mode and feelings are fresh and raw, being present for and listening to others' pain may be too difficult for many people to endure. That is why we usually suggest that a person may want to wait three to six months following the death before attending a grief support group ~ but again, as you say, that is very much an individual matter.

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33 minutes ago, MartyT said:

when one is in survival mode and feelings are fresh and raw, being present for and listening to others' pain may be too difficult for many people to endure.

I went three times to the meeting.  I came away hurting worse than when I went in.  I think some times we do not want to face the fact that our hurt makes us suicidal, but at our own risks, we get the idea that we do not care what happens to us.  When asked by the doctor what did I want out of life my answer was the truth, "I don't care."  Not suicidal, but if a car is approaching fast, I won't hurry to get out of the way.  If I cannot catch my breath when I am crying, I will welcome the darkness.  That is how I felt, and how I would imagine most felt.  Then, I had a reason to live and my deepest concern is that I can help her until she feels safe to leave, because I do not ever want the trauma of her finding me lifeless.  But, after that, my words "I don't care" seem to be all I care about.  I don't want my family to have to pick up the pieces.  I want to leave effortlessly, if I can.  I don't want to leave a mess behind for them to try to clean up. We do not all get what we want.  My mom would have been so terrified to hear that we have had to wait so long to pay her succession.  She was always right on with being prepared.  Alzheimer's is sneaky.  Death is a thief in the night.  Or day.

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