Sunday, October 24, 2010

Some people say....another thought on grief support meetings

If you are a newly bereaved mom, or maybe not so new but can't seem to find a place of peace and maybe you are considering coming to our meetings, which are held each Thursday morning from 10am to 12N,  please do.

Let us help you, the way in which we have been helped.. We can't change what has happened, we can't bring your child back, but we can help you until you are strong enough to help yourself... We are all moms, just like you, each of us coping with the most devastating loss - our child - something no parent should have to experience, but it happens and so we are here....

This time last year, I attended my first meeting of the Mom's Journey from Mourning to Joy Support Group, about 5 weeks after our 36 year old son Bobby took his own life on September 19th.  I teach at Mohave Community College here in Lake Havasu City and I was referred to the classes by several co-workers my first few days back to teaching, but it wasn't until Joyce Floyd called me on Sunday, Oct. 19th-one month after Bobby died, that I decided to go. 

Within moments of arriving, despite the warm welcome I'd received, I wanted to run out of the room and never return - my heart was already broken and I couldn't bear to listen or watch another mom's heartache.  But, by the end of the meeting I had no doubt that this is where I belonged.  I knew in my heart that I needed the help of each and every woman in that room.  It was comforting to know that if they had survived this overwhelming tragedy, then maybe, just maybe, they could help me do the same. 

When I walked into that room for the very first time, I truly believed I wasn't going to survive Bobby's death.  You see Bobby was the 3rd child I had buried - I had lost 2 little girls in the early 70's and to be honest, I wasn't sure I wanted to survive it.  Yet I knew that our other children - Bobby's 2 brothers and my 2 step-sons, our 4 daughter in laws and our 8 beautiful grandchildren, including Bobby's 2 little boys who were only 5 & 6 at the time, could not and should not be put through another loss.

The moms in this wonderful group became my security blankets and the creation of this blog a sort of pacifier - my "binky ".  Yes, the pain is often overwhelming and seems almost unbearable, but I know that I will survive and the major difference from last year is that I want to survive to enjoy our family.  I believe that life is a precious gift and only we can decide what we want to do with it - personally I can't stay in that very painful place, I need to find a way beyond the pain.  In my case, I know that I need to show my children and grandchildren by example, that despite tragedy, life is full of happiness and rainbows, that death no matter how or when it comes, is a sad part of life, but if and when we celebrate Bobby's life, then we will continue to honor his memory, he will always be with us and we should and must live life to the fullest until we join him and the girls again..... remember we are here for you if you want us to be.. Cherie Houston

The following is another perspective on grief support meetings

~~Written by By Margaret Gerner…. Bereaved Mother and Bereaved Grandmother, St. Louis, MO

Some people say…I wouldn’t go to one of those grief meetings. It’s morbid, people sitting around talking about death. How wrong those people are!!!

In so many ways those who attend are saying, “I am hurting now, but I want to go on with my life.” They are saying, “I am crying now, but I want to laugh again.” They are saying, “I am sick in body and soul; help me to get well.” I see these things as healthy, not morbid.

It is not easy to walk into a meeting of any kind alone, especially one where the subject is very emotional, but once there, it takes only a few minutes to find out we are not alone, that there are those who care about us and want to help us. We see others hurting and suddenly we want to help. I don’t see that as morbid.

A grieving Mother wants to talk about her beloved child who is no longer physically part of her life. That child had died with a tragic suddenness or as a result of an illness that usually takes older people. We want to know why or find a reason or some meaning in our child’s death. I don’t see anything morbid in trying to understand.

Memories of our child are all we have left. We have a driving need to hang on to those memories least we lose that small bit of our child. It is not morbid to want to keep that small part alive forever, at least in our hearts and minds.

To walk into a grief support meeting is a loud shout, “I want to live and be happy again.” It is a cry that “My child is dead, but I know she would want me to go on and be a better person for the suffering.” It is a confirmation that “Even though part of my life is gone, there is a reason to go on.” There is nothing morbid about doing what is necessary in order to re-enter the mainstream of life.

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