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Grief Healing Discussion Groups

Just Listen And Acknowledge The Hurt

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Yesterday I was walking and one of my husbands home health nurse who came to

our home every week for about 2 years called out to me. This was the first

time I saw her since my husband died and when she asked me how I was holding

up I just fell into her arms and sobbed and said not well. Well I just cried

and cried and cried and told her how much I missed Rich and the terrible pain

and, you know, she stood and listened - I mean really listened - she acknowledge my pain - she didn't offer advice on what to do - just said it

was really going to be hard. I felt such comfort in that...I think that

her just listening meant so much; I didn't feel uncomfortable because I didn't

feel that I was making her uncomfortable...

I wanted to share this with you because I believe that if people only

allowed us to cry; if they acknowleded our pain, our hurting, then - in some

small way that would be healing. Now, though, I, and from others here, I

know we tend to repress our feelings - except here - and that's what's so

comforting - no judgement, no advice, no crticism, and and confirmation and

acknowlegment of the terrible sadness and loneliness and desperation.

I think that when I talk to others who have not experienced the loss,

I feel worse and no comfort because when I tell them how I feel, they start

giving advice - time heals, get on with activities to take your mind off,

etc so then I understand that they can't really understand my words, I

can't convey the pain to them. I feel so alone. I don't really have any

"close" friends and I have no family here. I have resorted to listening

to Sundays religious programs even though I don't belong to an established

religion. I need something though to help me through the days.

People don't seem to help, in general. I know that the counselor who

let me cry and affirmed the hurt and the missing; and the nurse who did the

same; and the friends on this site all seem to help. But, mostly, it seems

that others want to do not what's best for me now, but what makes them feel

better. This is another lonely Sunday for me. Lily

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Lily, you are having to learn these hard lessons fast. Its taken me a very long time to come to terms with others not acting compassionately. All I have ever wanted was some kindness. I know (I've had it pounded into my head) that those who haven't experienced this kind of loss don't know what it feels like. But for the life of me I can't grasp how friends of Larry's and mine and family can't step back for a minute and think possibly that I might need a kind word, a listening ear, a helping hand. This will always baffle my mind. At least you know you will find kindness here and so much support. I'm with you Lily on this lonely Sunday. Deborah

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Lily, dear ~

I'm so sorry that you're having another lonely Sunday, but I hope it brings you some small measure of comfort to know that we are here for you.

I know from reading your earlier posts that you tried calling a local hospice to find out what, if any, bereavement services might be available in your community, but it was on a weekend and I don't know if you ever made any connection there. Since you are a little over six months into your grief journey, I hope you will consider finding an "in person" grief support group. Unfortunately friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers may not fully understand or appreciate the continuing bond you have with your husband and the pain you're still feeling weeks and months after Rich's death. What is more, if you're like most people in mourning, your need to talk about your loss will outlast the willingness of others (who are not in mourning themselves) to listen.

It is precisely at this point that a support group can be most helpful, because it is one of the few places where you can still talk about the one you have loved and lost, and feel deeply understood. The people in a grief support group require no explanation from you as to why you're still feeling whatever it is you're feeling because they share a similar loss. They "know" where you are because they've been there, too, and they're all walking the same path that you're on now. Just as you've discovered among our members here, when you are with other mourners, you don't have to worry about making them uncomfortable. You won't get unsolicited advice from them; you won't be judged by anyone; you can share as much or as little as you choose; and you can pass if you don't feel like talking. A support group can help you feel less isolated and alone. It offers hope, too, because you're surrounded with others who know the darkness of loss but are not immobilized by it.

Here's how one widow describes her experience with such a group:

Profound grief was, for me, deeply isolating, because although family and friends wanted to help, it was impossible for them to relate to what I was going through. Instead, I joined a bereavement support group run by professional counselors, which made the experience more manageable. It gave the process structure and me a place where each week, no matter what else was going on in my life, my grieving was encouraged. I joined a support group – even though the thought of being with strangers was, at that time, the last thing I felt capable of doing.

No matter what other challenges I was dealing with, this was a place for me to fully know my sorrow. By its very structure, a bereavement group offers a sort of marker, one that allows you to appreciate your ups and downs, as well as your progress. Sure, you’ll cry in front of people you don’t know, but they’ll cry as well. And eventually, you’ll cry less and laugh more as you cherish the emotional safety this group provides. You’ll also feel good about helping other group members, which in turn helps you to begin to feel powerful and whole again.

You might feel afraid that it’s like going to therapy, something that might be especially scary when you’re so vulnerable. Be assured that while a licensed bereavement therapist moderates the group, this is a “support” process group that deals with the here and now; it is not a therapy group that delves into your childhood in order to resolve old issues.

Source: The Healing Power of Grief: The Journey through Loss to Life and Laughter, © 2006 by Gloria Lintermans & Dr. Marilyn Stolzman, p. 7

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I have been fortunate in that I had family and friends that would sit and listen and let me work through the pain I went trough at the begining. It would be nice if you were able to keep in contact with the person that you felt comfortable opening up to. We all need that as we go through all of this. Marty is right, keep working and try and find you a grief support group, I had one in the areea that I live in that works with kids as well and that was a big help for me and my son in the begining. You can always come here, like you said and none of us will judge you and we will listen and be here for you, but there is nothing like the face to face discussions that you get with a support group. To meet people in your area that are going through the same thoughts and feelings and be able to sit right there and discuss them and open up. I developed many friends from the group that I atteneded and even through I no longer go I am in contact with a few of them still.

Love always


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I remember a long time ago my mom telling me how much she appreciated my willingness to remember and talk about my dad (who passed away 26 years ago). that most people want to rush on to something else and she will never forget him and wants to talk about him sometimes.

Well now I have experienced it myself, and I don't have my mom to help me because she has gone over the edge, but sometimes my son or daughter or a sister or my friend Virgie will talk about George with me, and it helps. I like to remember stories about him, and never want him to be forgotten, he never will be forgotten by me, but I want other to remember him and love him too. And as for the pain we experience in grieving, sometimes I think the kindest thing one can do is just be there, and listen...and as Deborah also mentioned, it helps when they do something tangible to help us too. Those are sometimes the most invaluable things we can have and yet are often the most missed.

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