Friday, January 22, 2016

Grief Group Sob Fest

I went to grief group last week. I remember stumbling in there in the early days and finding comfort in hearing people speak who were a few years out from their loss. The nurse who runs the group has encouraged me to come back for similar reasons--she says it's helpful for newly bereaved parents to hear the perspective of those who are further along in their grief. The idea was to try to be encouraging and empathetic, but also to demonstrate that life gets live-able again. I wanted to be the kind of Grief Ambassador who gave me hope that someday I'd be able to take a deep breath and not dissolve into tears every other second.

I don't know what happened though... I guess maybe it's just that December was a hard month and grief about Eliza got pushed back behind the grief and the busy-ness of losing David's grandma and celebrating the holidays. Or maybe I was just tired.

Whatever it was, I showed up for grief group and instead of being all, "Yes, I understand how you're feeling. Let me show you that things will get more manageable," I showed up and proceeded to basically ugly-cry for an hour and a half. I was a total bawl-bag! Like I could barely even talk at one point because I was so choked up. I cried my way through half a kleenex box!

I know I'm a contagious crier, so when someone else is crying, I always get a little teary myself. But then I just couldn't stop! I probably freaked people out. Look at me! In FIVE YEARS, you'll still be a total and complete wreck!

It is possible that I should not appoint myself Grief Ambassador. But I guess I just needed a cathartic cry, and ended up having mine in front of a whole bunch of bereaved parent witnesses.

I guess the truth is that five years in, you'll still be a total and complete wreck, but only for a couple of hours at a time, with mostly really good days/weeks in between.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to David on the phone in the car and I got emotional talking about some of Zuzu's behavioral challenges at school. I just worry about her. I can see how amazing she is, and I want to know that her teachers see that too, even when she's being a total brat and resisting transitions or not following directions. I was deliberately choosing my words carefully, so Zuzu didn't know what we were discussing, but she heard my voice sounding choked up and piped up from the back seat, "Mama? Are you missing Eliza?"

Yes, I am. Always, really. But, I swear, most of the time I can get through the day without crying!


  1. I think it's wonderful you still go to grief group. And I think that in five years when those parents are maybe having a rough moment/patch/season they may feel is OK and NORMAL to feel this way because you were brave to feel that way.

    Miles has been binge watching The Wire and last night a line really spoke to me. The character speaking was a formerly homeless drug addict who was speaking at an AA meeting. He said, "ain't no shame in having grief in your life. So long as you make room for other thing."

    You've made room for a beautiful life. Ain't no shame in the grief game, my friend. ;)

  2. God, I got a little choked up reading that Zuzu asked if you were missing Eliza. The recognition of her sister is...I don't know, it just feels so big, you know? ~Ida

  3. When dh & I were running a grief group, I tried to listen much more than I talked. But there were times, often around anniversaries, when I needed to talk more -- and, yes, cry. Even when your role is primarily to support, sometimes you still need some support yourself. Don't beat yourself up over this. You're human!! (((hugs)))

  4. I'm envious that you still have a grief group to attend. The group that I was in (the same women for 10 weeks) still keeps in touch periodically, but 3 of us have had babies since and there is a split in the group as a result - not intentional, but practically speaking. I miss the opportunity to listen, talk, grieve, and be sad with people other than my husband. I hope it was therapeutic for you and I am sure you still helped the other attendees.