I started attending a Group Grief therapy session last week. It is 8 weeks long. In this group are all different ages (although all are adults in this session) and genders of people who have lost spouses, children, parents, siblings. I found the session very difficult to get through and very depressing. One woman who lost her husband this May, was there for her 2nd 8 week session. I visited a Therapist a few days ago. She herself lost her husband 2 years ago. She said she is not a fan of group grief sessions. She said they can actually do more harm than good by delaying the healing process. The therapist asked me how I felt after the group session and I told her honestly it was very depressing. I also talked to a friend of mine that lives across the county. Her husband died in an auto accident 16 years ago. She said she used a good therapist to help her get past the pain, but never any group grief sessions.
Like Frank, I am in Colorado. I too have attended the HeartLight Center, sometimes the same meetings as Frank, although I also attend a group with Young Widows (those 45 and under--I am 32), and sometimes a group for those who have lost anyone they loved through a substance passing. I think the fit is important, but also the relationships, and that definitely there is no "One Size Fits All." I get something a little different out of each group, but the most important element to me is the camaraderie and the sense that there is some normalcy about you and what you are going through in an otherwise turbulent time. I think one thing that makes the HeartLight Center a good fit is that many of the groups, besides their formal meetings, hold social gatherings. So your focus is not on your grief, but you are with people who won't blink an eye if you are sad that day because it is --insert trigger date here--.
To those who want to try a grief group, I'd suggest, if the first you find is not a good fit, to try at least one other. Not every GriefShare is alike. Even two held at the same location will be different based on the people involved. Mental Health centers and Hospices are also places to look for grief groups. Some people even start their own, using MeetUp.
I went to a 3 month support group for loss. It was 9 women and one man (I was the one man). I discovered we all hurt the same, we all cry, we all feel anger, and I can laugh with the opposite sex as hard as I can my own! It helped me to realize I am not alone in my pain-not so isolated. We all met for dinner last week and it was like being with old friends. I care and love each of them dearly because I know what they have gone through, and when I say love, I mean heart love, compassion, empathy.
I think the group facilitator can make or break a positive group experience, ours was amazing.
My best help was from widows I met on an on-line website for the widowed. They became my grief buddies for more than 5 years in talking almost on a daily basis. These gals simply became friends during the worst times of my life; a truly amazing experience ...
Its been fun having these gals as new besties to talk about everything under the sun just like a spouse. Funny thing is all 5 of us were plagued w/a commonality from widowedhood, we cussed like it was part of breathing. It eventually wore off as the anger was worked out ... ;-)
I did visit w/a psychologist who as turned out to be just a sounding board in that as I talked out loud I was able to hear my problem & with the assistance of self help books I was able to work through my issues by practicing the their tips. My poor psychologist guy didn't give any suggestions, our shared education was probably an obstacle. However, I did receive EMDR for my PTSD that provided relief for the trauma ...
As for grief groups, I was turned off at the 3 I attended from different organizations. My panic attacks while sitting & listening were an issue, however, the widowers trying to pick up on me were the worst of it. The third was a meetup.com for widow/ers that was basically a hook up place for those ready to date, remarry or wanted a best friend w/benefits. I really should have waited 6 months before I attended a meeting instead of starting at 2 weeks out. I was too new, raw & vulnerable; it begged of approachability in my desperate need to talk to someone for guidance & understanding.
It's best to try them out to see what works for you. I understand how difficult it is to put yourself through these draining & sometimes obnoxious learning experiences at a time when all that is wanted is at least one good answer that will alleviate any stress from decision making. Believe me, I could've done w/out alot of the latter ...
Good luck to you!
Wow I'm sorry that the widowers tried to pick up on you in group-that is so wrong! I would never dream or entertain such a thought-seriously!
My 11 & 13 year olds were w/me both times at the 2 different churches - they recognized each time what these men were doing as well as stood frozen in horror when their kids ran up to us asking if I could cook or when were we coming over or if I wanted to be Daddy's friend. Arrgh! The fathers smiled & behaved as if it was acceptable behavior - these men were well educated professionals - it took an observant brawny rancher to get one father to back off. Yup, it was a turn off!
I'd say these guys aren't looking for a companion- they're looking for a cook/housekeeper/babysitter! I suppose it's a huge adjustment to lose a stay-at-home mother when you have a FT job and small children. I know DS has life insurance on DDIL. She's a stay-at-home mother (and a very good one) and it would take a lot to replace the care she gives them all.
But that just reeks of desperation. Not an attractive quality in a prospective partner.
Yes, desperation ...
It was also quite the adjustment for me to become a single parent & breadwinner ...
However, their salivating convinced me that they wanted more than a cook/housekeeper/babysitter ...
I learned a number of shocking lessons about the widowed & sex - for a some of them, the drive never stops ...
In its defense, I've read sex following a death relieves stress & reconnects w/life ...
I found pulling weeds, sawing off tree branches & Tai Chi relieved my stress as well as helped reconnect to life ... ;-)
I can understand that - frankly, I miss the unrestrained hugs when you're in an intimate relationship with someone. The careful, boundary-observing hugs you get at church just aren't the same. At age 64, I'm not ready for that part of my life to be over. I'm still not going to chase after every eligible male I see.
I spend a lot of time in the gym and just bicycled 20 miles. The physical activity keeps me sane and healthy. No replacement for good sex, though.
You just made me laugh out loud, thank you! I love your honesty!
I just got back from the gym as well-treadmill, stationary bicycling then yoga-I can barely walk but I know I'll be able to sleep!
Great answer mis64-
I agree, not every man is out looking for a date at a grief support group, certainly not me, and it does work both sides of the table.
What I miss the most with my wife gone is that I no longer have a person to share my thoughts and feelings with, no one to ask "What do you think about what this person, or that person said the other day about ...whatever" I miss the "Honeydo" lists that used to drive me crazy-lol
I miss hearing her humming when she was happy, I miss walking up to her and simply saying "I love you"