Life moves to the rhythm of departure,
either now-going or long-gone.
It’s hard to understand how the loss of a parent, close relative, or friend will affect you until it happens. When you come close to the presence of dying and death, it will change you. Sometimes there is a great deal of fear, sometimes silence and of course many other reactions and emotions. The silence can be an inability of the dying person to talk about what is happening to them, or it can be your own inability to know how to express your grief. You may feel like you are going to fall apart or you might want to push yourself to get back into your life and move on with things.
Grief might surprise you. You might feel you are coping well only to encounter another wave of sadness, loneliness, or fear. Or you might feel raw and ragged, but realize you are open to feel love in a new and unusual way.
Grief groups are wonderful resources. Many grief groups are set up for short term stints of 6-12 meetings. Others are drop-in and open-ended.
When is the right time to join this kind of support group?
There is no right or wrong way to answer this question. However, if you are too overwhelmed emotionally it may be a good idea to wait. Jane R. Dorlester, CSW, writes about her grief group in her website Brooklynbereavement.com. She has these recommendations for deciding if a grief group is right for you:
-Would I be comforted by others also experiencing a loss?
-Would I feel overwhelmed because I myself am in too much pain?
-Can I be there for others who are also in pain and honor their loss?
Grief support groups can be a wonderful way to get support and understand that you are not alone. And there are usually a number of agencies and therapists who offer these groups especially in urban settings, so you can look for the right one for you. And sometimes a combination of individual therapy and a grief support group is an excellent combination.