1. THE HARD PART: Agreeing to go.
You probably wonít decide to go on your own. Even if you might, there will be a well meaning soul suggesting it long before youíll be motivated. Donít be upset with them. They feel your pain, and want to help ease your suffering. And, really, it IS a good idea.
Some excerpts from the Excuses File: I donít feel Sad; Iím not angry; I donít feel lonely; I donít feel I need it. These excuses are probably the truth Ė you donít have these feelings. If you think about it, you probably donít feel anything. Youíre numb, youíve shut down, gone into survival mode. This was okay at first. It protected you. Now? Not so much. Now you are existing, not living. You are also not feeling joy, relief, wonder, energetic, motivated.
Yes, part of you died with that loved one, or when the job disappeared, or when you walked away from the house. But there is much of you left, and you need to reconnect with life. It probably will look quite different than the life you knew before, and thatís a bit scary. Thatís the theory behind the SUPPORT group, you see. You are NOT alone. Someone has been down the path, and wants to show you where the pot holes are.
The biggest, most often heard objection to finding a group is having to relive the traumatic event. You donít want to think about it any more.
Now tell the truth. Have you stopped thinking about it?
No. You are caught in a never ending loop. You relive it over and over, but always with the same outcome. By sharing, being heard, and listening to others, you segue from reliving into SEEING. You begin to see events differently, understand things. You may never get the answer to ďWhy?Ē But you will learn other things you need. You will find ways to live again. Thatís a good thing. You honor the dead by living well.
2. THE NOT AS HARD PART: Finding the group.
We all know one of them Ė the Keyboard People. Watch TV? Read? Shop? Visit Friends? Itís all done on a computer the size of your debit card. Want to see their eyes light up and mouths water? Ask them to help you search. If you have a computer yourself, just tell them which resources to send to your machine for investigating later. If youíre not internet savvy, have pen and paper ready. One site leads to another, and so on. Save time by using specific search criteria, such as the words Ďsupport group for XXXXX in (location)í. This also applies if you do the search yourself. Too broad criteria will quickly get you bogged down in related information, but wonít get you to your destination any time soon.
Phone calls may also be productive. Grief support group info may come from mortuaries, churches or temples, hospital chaplains, Hospice organizations, counseling centers, or libraries, just to name a few.
For other kinds of support groups, get as close to the source as you can. Researchers in a particular field probably know where the people are that have been affected by their area of study. For example, if a loved one has a particular disease, find the Foundation supporting research for it. Likewise fears, phobias and fetishes. Medical offices may be able to help also.
Be sure not to ignore your own network. People really and truly want to help. Donít be afraid to ask.
How did your cousin get through it?
Does anyone in your ladiesí circle know of a group?
May I go with you next time?
Have you heard of anything like this?
Can you recommend a professional?
NOTE: Women do this differently than men do. Take that into consideration when you ask, and when you get the information.
3. THE EASY PART. Sorry, there is no easy part. There IS the part where you start to live again. The part where you show others where the potholes are at the beginning of their journeys. The part where you funnel your feelings into action and participate in something wonderful. The part when the pain lessens. It is all part of