Grief Support Groups

I’m a big believer in DIY activities. I try to figure out a solution to any problem on my own. I search the internet for books to read or videos to watch, anything to help me out so I don’t have to ask for help. This usually works. So when grief became an unwanted house guest, I decided I would read all the books on the steps of grief. I figured I would get through all this “stuff” in six months tops. And then I would get on with my life.

But it didn’t work. I couldn’t “fix” my life or my kids lives. The world was caving in around me. I didn’t know how to move forward. I don’t care how many times I decided which “step” I was on in my grief, but it didn’t matter. Grief came in waves and knocked me down time and time again. I couldn’t help myself and I certainly couldn’t help my son or my daughter. A cousin that works with Houston Hospice suggested grief support. She gave me information on the Houston Hospice Wings program for my kids and for me. I signed us all up to begin just shy of the 3 month anniversary of my husband’s death. My son was relieved that he would be able to talk with others. My daughter was less enthused. I bribed her into going. And honestly, making the first step into support groups was HARD. It meant admitting that I needed help. It meant facing my grief and acknowledging the new normal in our lives. I was nervous and my stomach churned as we walked thru those doors for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect and wasn’t sure that I could begin to open up about my loss. And I cried. A LOT.

And I never regretted my decision to get involved in a support group. For the first time in months, I was surrounded by people who weren’t uncomfortable with tears. They didn’t try to make things better or give me canned answers about my sorrow. They listened and understood. They allowed the tears to fall and sometimes cried with me. We talked about going to the grocery store and seeing Valentine’s candy on the shelves and crying. I discovered I wasn’t the only one that kept a bottle of cologne so I wouldn’t forget. Nightmares and sleepless nights weren’t rare in this room and I was comforted to realize I wasn’t losing my mind. We discussed our grief, our anger, our loneliness, our fear of laughter and of forgetting. In this group, I could talk about the past and how I didn’t know if I wanted a future and they understood. We talked about the practical things like filling out papers, filing for SSN for our kids, the hardships of moving forward in a single world as a single parent of grieving children. We shared our feelings about cremation and burial, about spreading ashes as well as wording on headstones. We asked how long grief would last and what to expect. There were questions on wedding rings and dating and in-laws. There wasn’t a topic that was out-of-bounds.

I realized that grief support groups aren’t there for all the answers. They don’t exist to “fix” things. Grief support groups do just that: they support. It’s a chance to talk to others walking a similar path. They allow the grieving person a safe harbor to just grieve without feeling like a trespasser in the land of fun. I think the best advice I received during the 6 weeks of the Wings program was this: On those days when it seems that it takes every ounce of energy to breathe, then JUST breathe. I needed permission to let my guard down, to stop trying so hard to prove that I was okay. I needed a support group that would allow me to talk, but would also allow me to be silent.

There are a lot of ways to find support in the Houston area. The area hospice programs offer various support groups. Several churches in the area provide Griefshare groups. I will be facilitating a GriefShare group beginning January 26 at 5:00pm. We will be meeting at Westland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas. If you are interested in what Griefshare is all about, go to the website at Griefshare.org. There are lots of resources on the site. If you are in the west Houston/Katy area, you are welcome to join us on Sundays. Don’t be isolated in your grief. There are people who need to hear your story.

Tired

I’m tired.

I’m tired of being responsible.

I’m tired of “smiling” when it hurts.

I’m tired of solving one problem only to have two more pop up.

I’m tired of tears and pain and sorrow.

I’m tired of broken promises and lies and cheating.

I’m tired of being PC when the truth makes more sense.

I’m tired of insensitivity and immorality and stupidity.

I’m tired of ‘happiness’ at another’s expense.

I’m tired of excuses instead of honesty.

I’m tired of back-stabbing and slander and ugliness.

I’m tired of alone becoming lonely.

I’m tired of death and dying and grief.

I’m just tired of it all.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29

Dreams

I dreamed about you. You were laughing and having so much fun. The jokes were as bad as ever. The laughter just as loud. It was so normal to be with you again. It was so vivid and real.

And then it was morning. It took me a few minutes to decide what was dreaming and what was reality. I looked around to find you and be assured that you were real. I just wanted to be held and loved.

You weren’t there. I only had your pictures and our memories. Since that night, it’s like losing you all over again. The sorrow has been so vivid and fresh. I can’t seem to move past the memories, past the yearning of my heart. I search for your face in the crowds. I look for you in the empty rooms of our home. I beg the phone to ring so I can hear your voice.

But then, I remember that you’re dead and buried. For almost eight years, I’ve lived without your smile, without your laughter, without you. I won’t find you in the crowds and your voice is forever silent. I’ve learned to laugh again. I’ve learned what it means to live life fully without your love and assurances. But sometimes its just too hard. I miss you.

I dreamed about you.