Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Grief Support Group.

Tomorrow night, Thursday, April 7th at 6 pm in the community room of the Clinton YMCA, "Mabel's Able" will be holding our first ever grief support group. 

The goal of gathering together is to facilitate a safe, private environment... where we can offer emotional support to one another through our loss, grief, & experiences with the hope of bringing about healing through community & friendship.
If you or someone you know has lost someone they love and this feels like something you {they} may want to try, please join us 
[[This group is open to anyone. We will have an open forum for discussion with a weekly facilitator but we want to emphasize that this is not and should not take the place of a professional counseling service.]]
Somehow, over the course of my young life, grief has not only become my closest companion but also my true passion.  As a culture that is so dedicated to education and pursuing all avenues of such, we are highly uneducated in the area of grief.  Mostly, I believe, because as a general population we just cannot emotionally handle it. But there are many reasons that have led us here, to a fast-paced era of getting over this and fixing that.  We are lost in a realm of focusing our attention anywhere except inwardly or on anyone around us who is hurting.  This is so damaging to not only our own psyche but the mental state of our generation as a whole.  I fully stand by the mission in my heart that screams loudly that we must
"We must reach others around us who are hurting!  We must tell them they are not alone!  We must not turn our back on the pain.  We must not allow them to feel shame about how their heart may feel.  We must enter into a place of comfortable grieving with those around us- empathizing with their hurting, messy, broken, beat up and busted souls.  We must, oh how we must!"
This week has been awful for me.  I am 3 weeks post a foot surgery that has caused me an immense amount of pain.  Last week I found out that the incision wasn't healing properly and felt discouraged and today I got more bad news that I could possibly develop an infection.  I'm still in a lot of pain in my foot which has also caused a lot of pain in my back. 
I'm completely overwhelmed by the physical pain. 
At first it seemed almost like a respite from the emotional pain but now the two have joined forces and made a bed in my heart; one that I feel trapped in, utterly and totally helpless.  I know the physical pain won't last.  There will be an end.  But telling myself that only makes the emotional pain worse, as I know the longing for my baby will haunt my heart for as long as I live.  And that could be a very long time. 
The thoughts swirl and where I once had an outlet in exercise I now find myself in bed with a heating pad and pain meds, weeping for all that I do not have and cannot do.  And yes, it's a ridiculous pity-party for one.  Just me. 
But truly, all of the pain and agony has me in a bad way and I just can't shake it.  I'm remembering details that I cannot and do not want to recall just yet.  I've done my best to run from them (in every way) for just over 10 months and I'm not ready to lay here and listen to my mind or tap into my memory.  I just can't and yet I find that I don't quite have a choice.  I have nowhere to go and nothing to do and that makes me angry, sad, frustrated and oh so vulnerable. 
It's unbearable actually.
Three nights ago the kids heard me wailing from their rooms and came to meet me on the couch, one in front and one behind me as I cried.  They planted their faces next to mine and as my body shook they held fast to their mama in a way they haven't before.  I opened my eyes, mucky with mascara and looked at their faces and noted how unfair this must feel; their own hurt being pushed aside to comfort me in mine.  No child should have to.  No mother should have to.  All that we've endured and have to continue to walk with; it's just so hard and seems so cruelly unfair. 
Of course we remember her pain and are grateful that the horror she endured is over, but that doesn't ease the pain in our own hearts or home.  In fact, at times it just enhances it.  It's just so sad to think of our girl suffering, but also not being here with us.
Yesterday I got text messages from two of my sweet grieving mama-friends. 
One basically said, "I don't want to interact with anyone who will not openly accept my use of the F word."  I agreed the same and felt free in it.
The second said,
"I wrote her anniversary story and I am literally destroyed.  I think I need wine but it's the middle of the day..."
To which I also agreed and later replied, "I took a Xanax.  I hope you drank that glass of wine." 
So I'm laying here and I feel completely helpless and then I get these gentle little word reminders that even fully-abled grieving mama's feel the same.  They are wrecked and ravaged and exhausted and shattered.  They need non-judgment and wine and medicine and sleep and silence and busy-ness, and friends and noise, and nothing.  And everything. 
Like me, they don't even know from minute to minute what they need but they sure aren't trying to figure it out either. 
We are all just doing the very best we can. 
And we're talking about it.  And we aren't ashamed of it.  And we keep giving a voice to it.  And we are trying desperately to recognize it and normalize it and not over-rationalize it.  We are just living it and are horrified by it.
But what makes us different than generations before us is this:  we are communicating about it. 
And that's why this idea of community grieving is important. 
It means that we come out of confinement, into a place of solidarity to join our voices with others who are hurting.  It means that we open our hearts to hopefully bring about peace for ourselves and those around us. 
God speaks about it constantly in the Word, about gathering together.  And I don't think that it necessarily always means for the mission of spirituality, though I do believe something insanely spiritual  happens when people gather together with other people who are longing for the same thing. 
Especially in the presence of grieving hearts...
  There is so much tenderness, strength, understanding and knowledge in the presence of those grieving, and just enough brokenness to let the beautiful pour in. 
This art of mourning is a sacred and powerful dance.  It is exhausting in ways that are unexplainable unless otherwise fully experienced.  It is overwhelming and frightening and lonely and so very painful. 
 But it is an art. 
And a very forgiving and stretching process. 
 I just no longer want it to feel like one that we have to endure alone. 
So...if you're reading this and your heart has been shattered, or you are grieving for that child that was never born, or one who took their own life, or your mother who never got to see your kids go to school, or your daddy who can't walk you down the aisle, or your grandma who raised you like her own, or your partner that slept at your side for 43 years....
If you are reading this and have never shared your story of hurt or maybe you've shared it a trillion times over...
If you are reading this and you feel like you maybe just need a friend; someone who may understand...
Please, please, please step out and join us. 
We will not have all the answers.  We will not bring a 'fix' to the hurting.  But we can assure you that you will not walk away empty. 
Sometimes it takes a congregation of the brokenhearted to see the strength that lies inside of yourself.  That is our hope.  That we can all walk away with a little bit of extra strength for the days ahead.
For questions please feel free to email me:

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