For most people who are grieving they feel so isolated in their grief like no one understands or can possibly imagine what they might be going through. Although we could not possibly understand the exact experience of someone else, we can relate to certain feelings, thoughts and/or experiences of another. Although I caution people to say, “I understand”, most people who have dealt with a loss and experienced grief can relate to the feelings and experiences that people feel while grieving. It might be better to say, “I have had those feelings/thoughts/experiences too.” or “I can relate to what you are saying.”
During our last grief group we examined and experienced our connection in the grief journey. Each member stated a feeling, thought or experience she or he was having and others acknowledged if they too have felt this way or experienced something similar. We created a web of connection.
Some of these things were:
- Wishing “if I could have one more moment”, “if i just said…”, “if I just did…”
- A feeling of being punished that their loved one was taken away
- As sense of connection as if their loved one was still here
- A feeling that no one understands or could possibly understand
- Loss of Faith
- Doing “weird things” – like keeping letters or clothes after months or years after the death smelling them or preserving them, buying the favorite food the loved one liked even though no one will eat it because no one accept the loved one liked that special treat, leaving the other side of the bed untouched for your spouse or partner, maintaining a similar routine as if your loved one was still alive, ironing your loved ones clothes and placing the clothes back in the closet, putting a place setting out for dinner even though your loved one never comes, speaking to their picture or urn, and the list goes on.
I often remind people that what they are doing is not “weird”. People are managing the best they can within their grief. Often, these “weird” behaviors are healthy and quite normal. Most people who are experiencing a loss and are grieving probably are doing some “weird” behavior(s) that they too dare wouldn’t share for fear or concern of judgment or criticism. The interesting thing is that the majority of people who are grieving are probably doing some form of “weird” thing too. When sharing with others in a safe and comfortable environment how might just come to see just how connected you are! It might offer you a source of support. See you next month on the 3rd Tuesday at 7:15pm. For more information visit our Group Counseling page.
I thank each and every one of our participants. It takes courage to attend, share, listen and just be there with us.
by Katie Lemieux