Last week was my first group session for my grief counseling. I have had a chance to process the feelings I experienced in group. I have rolled them over in my mind. I have embraced them as I would a long time friend.
Now it’s time to take you through that process.
I arrived a few minutes late and people were already crying. Oh boy. In my later years I have been learning to soften up and share my emotions in public. I was cringing that this was going to be an embarrassing emotional experience. I don’t want to cry about this anymore. I cry plenty about it. I cry when I buy cat food for my mom’s cat that I brought home.
I sat and I listened to the group facilitators.
I was incredibly grateful that I didn’t have to say “Hi, my name is Kim and my mother died 6 months ago.” “Hi Kim.”
I decided to share first. I figured I would just get it out of the way so I could listen and be more comfortable. There were no tears, but there was understanding. The other group members could relate to what I was saying.
As they shared their journeys I was shown how similar we are in this space.
I had a self-imposed time line. For some crazy reason I felt that I should “get over it” quickly. When she was alive I cringed when she would call. I was afraid that she would find me. I cried when I could feel her looming. How can I feel so bad for long?
I learned that mixed emotions are normal.
I learned that creating rituals will help. Creating routine in my life helps me get through the days. Being aware of anniversaries and special days and buffering for that will help keep my head up.
I watched another group member sobbing and gasping for air. That’s how I feel sometimes, only I do it from the privacy of my dark closet…tucked under the shirts and next to the shoes. I admire her for being vulnerable enough to share her emotions. Funny, I guess I just share mine a different way (you’re reading it).
I keep drawing parallels between quitting gambling and death. It feels quite similar. Like I said though, this grief group was better. I didn’t have to admit that I was addicted to the sadness or the pain. It was just about sharing how I felt and whatever else came out of my mouth. I wonder if, as gamblers, we can learn to share what’s going on without the shame or guilt. Just share, honor where we are, and figure out how to make steps forward.
Openly sharing. That’s one of my goals for this blog. I have created a safe place for those of us in pain to freely give the gifts of our stories. We are all unique individuals. I enjoy honoring that.
Blessings on your travels my friends.
P.S. Today is my 40th birthday. What I wouldn’t give to hear from her. I did have a beautiful day with my husband and friends. It was bittersweet, but at the end of the day I know that all is well in my world.