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I quit...or did I? - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
guysterrules
guysterrules
I quit...or did I?
Last night was my grief counseling group. I was determined to leave and never go back. I had good-bye on my lips. The last time I had gone, I was left holding a big cup of depression and alienation. The six of us have been together for over a year. We have grown to love one another and each other's lost partners. But I felt I outgrew the group.

My decision was not feckless but rather anchored in practicality. I no longer could devote the time to show up at every meeting and with each meeting missed, I felt I was not only shirking my responsibility to the group but also losing ground in their collective breakthroughs.

Evelyn and Winifred, our two facilitators, told us to give a brief check-in. This is the point we start each meeting with our highlights or, most of the time our lowlights, of the previous week. Winifred announced we would be doing "something different" after everyone spoke. We all gave each other a worried side glance as something different in this group is met with trepidation. We've all had enough of "something different" to last us the rest of our lives. I decided not to break the news to the group on the first go-around and instead I updated them on my job and how it helps deflect my attention away from missing Billy.

Then Winifred passed out a questionnaire and told us to fill in the blanks as quickly as possible. We were each given a few magazines to use as lap-desks on which to write. I was lucky to have the heft of O Magazine and a Christmas edition of Good Housekeeping. I glanced at the questions and my heart sank.



Dear Honey Bunny,

I really miss you when... I wake up and when I go to sleep.

It is hard to let go of the pain because... I don't know where to put it.

I still feel guilty about... Each moment I made you feel bad. For not heeding your warnings of chest pains.

I also feel angry that... I didn't join you.

Sometimes I am sad when... I remember your touch, your voice, your laugh, your kiss, your sincerity, your dream of our future.

One thing that has changed since your death is... I cry everyday.

The thing that is still the same is... I watch too much TV.

The special memory I have of you is... Who you were.

If I could have one last chance to talk to you I would tell you... I believe in you.

When we all put down our pens, we were sobbing. Except Earl. He is the only other man in the group having lost his wife in the plane that went into the Pentagon. He is a sturdy, good man but weeping has never been on his menu. We were then asked to read our responses out loud.

I made it through the first two questions without my voice breaking. The third one took the finger out of the dam. By the time I read the last response aloud, the most difficult one, I was barely able to speak. My words caught and sputtered out, my face wet from a shower. For reasons I have yet to be able to say aloud let alone write down, that last answer, "I believe in you," is the tip of the regretberg.

I caught my breath, turned to Winifred and said, "Well, I hope you're happy now," with as much sarcasm as I could muster.

Toward the end of our two hours together, I told them my plan to leave the group. I explained my work schedule was erratic. I told them I loved them and I also told them I knew they loved me. They reinforced this by their gentle words and the need in their eyes for me to stay.

They are, after all, part of my family. And I will take the sense of family wherever I can get it. Even if it's in two hour chunks every other week, even through the compassion and support on here. I can't share as much naked emotion with these people as I have and just walk away. It's not my style. And it wasn't Billy's either.

Current Mood: believing in Bill
Current Music: nothing

4 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
ruralrob From: ruralrob Date: May 15th, 2003 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. Interesting post. I really feel for you. I'm not experienced in grief counselling (although Meirion is) but I'm just wondering if experiences with a group like this don't make things worse. You said you get relief from your job, and I guess thats good isn't it, but the group does exactly the opposite. It brings everything back in tight focus and, worse, you have to share your grief publicly with others.

On the other hand, it concerns me that without the group you'll have to ride out things by yourself. And I'm sure this can be very, very hard too.

Is this paradox something that's a big concern or am I being all to naive about something I really don't understand....
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: May 15th, 2003 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm as confused and conflicted about it as can be, Rob. I just don't know. There is something nurturing about speaking to those who are going through a similar horror in their life. I do think I'm near the end of it and I will probably go the next two times because my time allows for that much commitment.

Thank you for asking the tugh questions though. I have thought of those myself. I sit in the group and absorb their grief and at times, magnify my own. I don't know if that's unhealthy or cathartic. I do know writing on here has given me more beneficial and productive support than the group.
(Deleted comment)
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: May 15th, 2003 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
From you, it doesn't sound trite. And from you I would happily accept the hug, and I would hug you back.
creamycambot From: creamycambot Date: May 17th, 2003 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I believe that it is a shaky line between cathartic and unhealthy. From my sheltered perspective, of course. The only family I have lost have been my paternal grandparents and a few friends. I empathize from the point of my grandmother suffering from advanced Alzheimer's, she is dead, but she still walks. And my father, who emotionally abandoned me and my brother so many years ago, who still has the cowardice to live and breathe, but not include me in his life. Terry, you are someone I truly look up to. For whatever reasons, I am glad you are getting along better as the days go by. Billy would be proud.
4 comments or Leave a comment