I started attending a grief group recently. It has been a long time coming. I looked for one before, but for some reason, this one just was not showing up on my radar. It really is all about Creator’s timing.
Over two decades ago I received a chunk of memory recall. I needed the information in order to keep my son and myself safe. That also meant I needed to not end up in the hospital decompressing from the recall, which would have happened had I gotten the emotional side of the memories at the same time. I did get some of the emotions, but only enough to provide extra validation to the visual memories that I received.
I didn’t know how long it would take, but I knew the emotions were going to have to come up at some point in time. My life since that recall has been an up and down ride. I have seen times of supernaturally provided safety. I have gone through many challenging things, including outright spiritual attacks. I have tangled with therapists who turned out to be cult infiltrators. I’ve moved across the country, been impersonated online (causing me to be blamed for attempted harm to women I love) and kicked out of survivor support forum. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
My life for the last four years has been settling down. I still have challenges. I mean, seriously, what is life without challenges, right? But I’m in a good place overall. I am handling the challenges that are in front of me and, I think, I’m doing pretty well at it. That means I’m in a safe enough place for the emotions to start coming up. Over the past three to six months, I have noticed an uptick in my emotions when there was no in the moment discernible cause for it and that’s what led me to look for a grief group again.
I didn’t really know what to expect regarding this grief group. I talked to the head facilitator prior and explained how I was looking for a grief group that was more general in focus. Most grief groups are specific as in, loss of a spouse or loss of a child. But I’ve got a whole lifetime of losses to deal with. Losses of things that were and losses of things that could have been. Losses of people and of places. All that is separate from these emotions coming up and, yet, also very intertwined with them.
For example, I lost my childhood due to the very events I recalled two decades ago, the very events for which the emotions are starting to come up. So there are the emotions tied to the memories I need to deal with, but also the loss of a childhood because of those events. I can give other examples, but you get the idea.
I didn’t tell the facilitator a whole lot, but we did discuss enough to where we both felt this would be a good thing for me to attend. I like that this group is based on the Bible and does refer to scripture. I like that everyone in the group is dealing with a loss of some kind. The people in the videos we watch are across the spectrum of life and have many different kinds of losses, but they all speak from the experience of real loss. They’re not experts about loss; they’re experts in loss.
The first night I went, we were all introducing ourselves and explaining why we were there. For each one it was the loss, or multiple losses, of a loved one. When it got to me, I just explained that I truly believe God was bringing me to that group, but that I really didn’t know what was going to happen. I shared that I was grieving a whole lifetime of losses of various kinds and that I didn’t know what was going to come up. They accepted that!
I was very surprised when, during that first meeting, I found myself actually getting teary and sharing little bits and pieces of what I was grieving. Of course I didn’t share anything that would shock the sensibilities of the people in the group. There are a lot of little old ladies grieving the loss of their spouses and the kinds of things I have been through are probably so far off their radar, it would have been inappropriate. But I was able to share enough about myself and my life, little bits and pieces. And after the meeting I was approached by a woman who really wanted to make sure I knew I was welcome there and that I belong there and that I should definitely come back. I was able to open up a bit more explicitly, but still circumspectly, with her and a couple other ladies. That, in itself, was so healing and so amazing to me.
I’ve been to a total of four meetings so far. Each one has built on the previous meetings. Each one has had special experiences for me. The last one is the only one I didn’t get emotional in.
The next meeting would have been on a holiday so they moved it to the day after, which is really hard for me because I have a board meeting that night. It’s not that I mind missing the board meeting, but it’s going to be a special meeting. Nonetheless, I’ve already let them know I will not be at the board meeting. The board meetings are ongoing twice a month. This grief group runs 13 weeks and I don’t want to miss even one week. It means that much to me. So hubby is going to drop me off at the grief group, go to the board meeting, and then come back and pick me up.
Because the meetings are so far away from home, ideally I should leave right away to try and get home before dark. However, I have found the fellowship after the meeting to be maybe even more important than the meeting itself. There is a couple there I have been able to open up to in greater detail, again, being circumspect and respectful of their own sensibilities and the fact that they are grieving their own losses. I don’t trust easily, but I just keep sensing that G-D’s hand is in all of this. So I’m being brave and daring, once again, to trust and open up. There hasn’t been much opportunity for that since moving here and attempts to do so have had mixed results.
I know it probably sounds really weird, but I really look forward to going to grief group. I care about the people in the group. When I think about it, I pray for them to be comforted in their losses. Some of them need physical healing, too. Or their loved ones need physical healing. I don’t keep a list; I’ve never done well with lists. But I do pray as the Spirit puts them on my heart to do so. And it helps me stay out of myself. That grief group is not all about me. It’s about all of us together, walking this grief journey and supporting one another through it. So I’m trying to find ways to support others.
Only time will tell as far as what all comes out of this group. I may, or may not have found an open-minded pastor with which to process some of this stuff coming up. He is praying about it. But this I know: Creator’s hand is in all of this. If this pastor is not the one for me to process with, then He will provide someone else or, possibly, be my only Counselor. He has given me so many insights over the years. I know I can rely on Him and trust Him.