Friday, December 16, 2011

GriefShare Recap

I wanted to take a post to write about GriefShare now that I've finished it the first time. {Though I say first time, it'll probably be my last too, as getting out just before Lilleigh's bedtime is taxing on us, but they invite everyone to come back for as many sessions as necessary.}

In case you haven't gotten it by now -- GriefShare is AMAZING. Our last meeting was Tuesday night, so I've taken the last few days to process my experience in the program. Basically, like anything else, you get as much out of GriefShare as you put in it. I did the homework religiously. {I didn't do the journaling at the end though because I didn't see that section until the second to last week - oops. I'll go back to that!} I attended every group meeting possible, and I tried my very hardest to be on time for the video in the beginning. {Hard thing to do around bedtime!}

If you've ever been through GriefShare, you know the videos are cheesy. They were filmed in the early 90's, I'm sure. Southern accents. So much awesomeness in style... big hair, huge cow necks, baggy sweaters, big glasses. Oh wait some of these styles are back in! :) Still these outdated videos were filled with nuggets of wisdom. There are times I found myself nodding my head, Yes, Yes, they get it. I feel that too. And other times where I though, Ooh I have to write that down!

After our video each week, a leader would share their story of loss. Though hearing so many stories is sad, how comforting it is to know we're not alone! Hearing those stories filled me with so much hope and encouragement. Others have walked this path before me and are here to walk beside me.

The second hour is small group time. We were broken up into groups by gender. Other than that, there were a multitude of losses and ages in each group. There wasn't a specific agenda each week. We could talk about the homework, video, grieving in general, pertinent events from the week, anything goes. I was always careful not to dominate conversation {like anyone is in such a setting} so it struck me as odd that I'd leave there feeling so relieved and insightful, as if I had just left a session with my counselor where I talked the entire time. Funny thing.

I think this is what really struck me the most during these last three months. And I've come to realize that grieving with others, in community is a very healing thing. Grief is grief. Whether I was talking to someone who lost a sister, a mom, a dad, etc, I felt very connected to them because as it turns out, grief is a universal concept. Who knew! Since I went to school for counseling, I feel funny saying this next part - Counseling has been great and has been a life line for me this past year and a half, {And no, I don't plan to stop anytime soon}, but there is power in community. Jesus was constantly surrounded by His disciples. And though sometimes He would go off alone, many times He'd go off with His small inner circle of just three disciples. He lived life with others. And look at the trinity - three in one. Relational. Communal. We were made to live life with others. And this includes the trials. I don't think we were ever meant to go through the trials of this life alone. No one can lose Austen for me. Even my siblings and parents who lost him - he meant something different to each of us. In the same way, I can't go through cancer for my sweet friend. But I can be intentional about letting others share my burden and letting them into my grief, just as my dear friend can let us walk this trying road with her.

GriefShare was an easy way to do grieve communally. Everyone there had experienced loss. They all got it. And they all realized that it's not something you "get over." Truthfully, I think this was something I just realized. I didn't know what it'd look like years from now, as more time passes from his death. But seeing others grieve well has shown me that healing looks like pain in the midst of joy. It's not pushing back the pain or ignoring. That pain will always be very real, though it will certainly lessen. Instead, it's embracing pain in the midst of joy. Feeling both together is a beautiful thing.

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