Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On Why Grief Group is Good for the Farm

Instead of clean house or barn, I went to grief support group in town today and then ran errands.

Grief group is sponsored by Gentle Shepherd Hospice and led by counselor, Martha Furman. It is free and open to anyone suffering loss of spouse, friend, family member, child. There are folks of all ages. Group is offered on Mondays and Tuesdays, noon to 1:30. I don't go every week, but try to as often as possible. I never get there on time.

Martha gives each of us the opportunity to share about our loved one and what we are feeling at the moment. When one gentleman, whose wife died of cancer last summer, spoke about how she came down with her illness last winter. He spoke about the visceral response he has to the winter cold. It made me cry to know that someone else feels what I feel. It made me feel less alone and less worried that something is wrong with me. When someone else shared about how hard it is to do the things that their spouse used to do for them, I felt less alone, thinking about how guilty I feel because I don't have it in me to be fun for my kids at the moment.

When I shared that a lot of things hurt these days and I feel like I have been grieving for a year, since last December when Philip's health took a sharp dive, and how I haven't felt much joy or happiness for a few weeks, no one, not even the licensed professional counselor told me I should buck up, look on the bright side, or just try harder. They all reminded me that we go through the cycle of grief repeatedly, sometimes daily hitting the different stages of grief and healing, and to not be too hard on myself, and to rest when tired because grief is exhausting.

Martha also reminded each of us to avoid guilty feelings when we see others whose paths appear more difficult than ours. She reminded us to be open to feeling our pain so that we could move on, instead of get stuck in an eddy because we try to block our emotions.

So how is this good for the farm? I think it is good for the farm because it is good for me. And good for my children. Tomorrow I plan on getting up, donning dirty clothes to go shovel manure out in the barn with another widow friend who lost her husband several years ago. Grief group teaches me to reach out when I have a need. Being with other folks farther down the path teaches me that it won't always be this hard, but they remind me that what we are going through right now IS hard and we don't have to feel crazy because it hurts.

And now, off the pull supper out of the oven so I can share dinner with the children, then story time. Roasted chicken, green beans from summer and sweet potatoes from a farmer friend. Organic carrots and lettuce from Kroger. Another day in the high forties makes me think that spring is on the way, but alas, we have weeks and weeks to go. However, I have deep faith that at some point, the warm will return for a nice long season, the grass will green and hopefully we will be out there in the daylight, planting garden.

PS If you are getting tired of gloomy posts, maybe you should come back around May...


Polly said...

That is exactly how it is. Bucking up or trying harder? no...just going with it.

I can understand that visceral reaction to the cold. I'm so sorry.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

I am so tired and I worry that something is wrong but then I think, maybe it's grief? Maybe I'm just tired because I'm 50 and it's paranoia because if my mother could die, anyone can die? I should go to that support group. At least I write about my grief and I have my family, husband and children, to keep me going. I worry about my father, retired, cooped up in an apartment, shy, not the support group type--no way. He can barely talk about it. There are some good things about shoveling manure. How you cope, always helps me.