autumn days

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dougy Center Support Groups

We have the great privilege of attending free Dougy Center support groups designed for families with children who have experienced the loss of a parent or child.  My children enjoy play therapy with counselors twice a month while I attend a support group with surviving spouses and parents.  My family began with the Pathway Program before M died.  M even attended one meeting with other cancer patients.  Our family is now new to the bereavement program. 

My family has attended two sessions since M's death.  The first time I was even and matter-of-fact.  The second time I was uncomfortably giddy.  Laughter was my coping mode that evening, as a way to break up the density of being in a room full of devastated survivors.

In these sessions we talk about what we are currently processing.  Each session seems to pull out the similarities in the ways we grieve.  In the bereavement group we talked about how it was so uncomfortable to live life in limbo, not knowing when things would slow down or progress.  In the bereavement group, there is a level of quiet devastation.  We all wish we had our loved one back with us, find uncomfortable comfort in doing things we couldn't do with our partner, want to take trips or change our home in ways our partner would not have chosen, worry about our children in all their phases of grief, take comfort in friendships and family, our lives are full and distract us much of the time from our loss, and feel great waves (of grief, anger, sadness, devastation, along with delight) crash over us without warning.  We want to travel and see the world while also staying home and stable for our children.  We together wonder when is the right time to open up to romance again after our loss: 15 months or 5 years?  We find ourselves crying for reasons invisible to others.  We find the quiet moments alone to be the hardest.  We find ourselves explaining to others that grief is not something you get over, but something you learn to live with. 

I treasure being in our sacred circle where we get to talk about how awful it is have watched our loved one die, for us to lose a partner or child, for us to parent alone, and to talk of the ways we support our children and take care of ourselves.  I am so very grateful for this free group therapy, funded generously by donations.  I am thankful for this program touching and supporting so many families.  I am grateful for feeling so supported by these new peers and mentors in our lives.  We are stronger with Dougy.

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