The dogs have me up early on a Saturday morning…so I’m coffee-ing and writing. The house is quiet. There are a few snowflakes coming down. The boys and I have plans to go to breakfast later and I’m meeting my sister for coffee this afternoon…but nothing I need to do right now…and I’m feeling pretty peaceful.
If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you know how frustrated I am by society’s viewpoints on grief…and how that has caused pain for me as I know it does other grieving individuals as well. Well, this morning I woke up thinking about my grief counseling group. A few weeks after Jason passed away I was inundated with family and friends telling me I should go to therapy. At the time it felt like just another thing I was “supposed to” squeeze into my schedule. I had just gone back to work full-time which was a huge adjustment…Levi was back in school…Seth wasn’t driving yet. I was running myself ragged.
Grief counseling is included as part of the hospice program that Jason was in, so soon I had this therapist calling me wanting to set up an appointment to meet with me. Of course, all of her available times were while I was at work. Finally, we managed to find a day that I could meet her right after work…although it meant she had to work late. This was 4 weeks after Jason passed away. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about…no clue…but she did tell me about the group therapy that meets every Wednesday afternoon…during work hours for me of course. However, I think I have mentioned before that I work with very awesome people, they took away that excuse and the next week I was logging on to the virtual group. No meeting in person because of Covid.
I remember sitting at that first session and thinking….nope, this isn’t going to work…these other women have nothing in common with me other than they lost their husbands…a few of them lost parents, not spouses…I don’t think I fit. For most of the 90 minutes I just sat and listened…the other six women had met a few times before so they knew each other…and then about 60 minutes in the counselor asked me if I wanted to tell my story. So I did…and I sobbed and sobbed. When the 90 minutes was over I logged off and thought to myself “well that didn’t help me feel better at all”. I remember telling several people “I don’t think that group is for me”.
But I decided I needed to give it a few more weeks. The third week in I was mentally and emotionally in a horrible place. I knew I was going to have to keep on going somehow, but honestly I didn’t want to. Even through the computer screen these women all knew I needed them that day. They picked me up…helped me refocus…see the important things. They became part of my tribe…and I hope I am part of theirs as well.
Now my Wednesday grief counseling is set in stone on my calendar. I text with a few of the ladies throughout the week. We go out for drinks. They know when “my eyes are sad” even if there’s a smile on my face. We laugh. We cry. We have deep conversations on the meaning of life.
What we don’t try to do is “fix” each other. We validate. We comfort. We support. I had never gone to any sort of therapy prior to this and it is completely different than what I expected…in a completely good way. They really help me keep my head on straight and my emotions at a level where I can deal with them.
Here’s my poem today…for my “widow friends”.
Death has brought me new friends-
They are widows too.
They feel my pain and understand
When I speak of you.
Even though they never met you-
And I never met their loves-
We bring each other comfort
Along with tight, tight hugs.
We don’t have a lot in common-
Other than our widowhood-
But when I talk to them
They help make the bad days good.
They understand my exhaustion-
How living is a chore-
And give me the boost I need
To get up and face the day once more.
They never tell me to move on=
They get me where I'm at=
I can relax and be myself
And they still like me! Imagine that!
Maybe when I am together
With my widow friends
You are hanging out in Heaven
A group of all our husbands.
I hope when you look down on us
You are happy that we met.
It feels as if these ladies
Are definitely Heaven-sent.