We’ve all heard Charlie Brown’s frequently expressed shout, “Good Grief!”. We may have said it ourselves in times of frustration.
Having been through it myself, there’s nothing good about grief. At least not when you’re flailing helplessly in the middle of it.
When my father died, I went through the same grieving phases everybody else does. But I think the hardest thing about it was having nobody to really talk to about it.
Oh, I had my new, wonderful husband. My friends. My family. They all loved me and were there for me. But they couldn’t understand what I was going through. None of them had lost their father. If I started talking about what I was feeling, even well-meaning friends looked at me as if I was speaking a foreign language they didn’t understand. I felt very alone.
Even my Mom, who was dealing with her own loss, was experiencing a different kind of grief than I was. There were things I was feeling and thinking she didn’t need to hear.
I pulled myself together somehow and got through the next few years, and things did get better. But I still felt like a cloud was hanging over me, that there were issues I had not worked through completely.
Grief warred with my faith in God. When I did push myself to go to church, I struggled. When it would come time to stand up and sing a praise song, I couldn’t do it. I had nothing to praise God for, in my mind. It was especially bad if it was a song I knew Dad liked. Many times, I just sat there, tears running down my face. Don’t even ask me about those first few Father’s Day Sundays.
It was around that time Mom heard about Griefshare, a grief support group with chapters all over the country. One was meeting at a church in Peachtree City and she was going weekly. And it was really helping her.
Seeing how much good it was doing her, I decided to find a Griefshare group near me and I did, at Dunwoody Baptist Church. And from the first night, I knew I had come to the right place.
The most important thing I got out of Griefshare was finding a group of people, even though they were strangers, who spoke my “grief language”. When I talked about what I was feeling and thinking, I didn’t draw blank stares or uncomfortable silences. I saw nods and looks of encouragement. They didn’t mind if I cried. Sometimes they even cried with me.
For the first time, somebody truly understood what I was saying.
We’d come there for different reasons but with the same pain. One had lost a son. Another had lost a spouse. One had lost a brother when he was murdered. You would think that would make a difference but it didn’t. Not really. Someone much loved in our life was gone and we were left stumbling in the dark, looking for answers. Looking for life to get back to some new kind of normal.
I think one of the best videos they showed was of a pastor talking about the loss of his wife. He shared how one night, in his anger and frustration, he threw his Bible against the wall and shouted at God. That someone considered so spiritually mature had done something very human had an impact one me. I realized it was okay to get mad, to be angry at God. He could take it.
My mother went on to help start a Griefshare group at her church and helps facilitate it every week. It’s given her a way to minister to others from her own experience. Eventually, my husband and I started going to Dunwoody Baptist, where my Griefshare group met (they still do) and became members.
Griefshare has a strong foundation in the Christian faith, so it may not be for everyone. But the program doesn’t proselytize or force anything on anyone. There were a few folks in our group who were not Christians who said they benefitted from it.
If you’ve experienced a loss and can’t seem to get out of the funk you’re in, reach out for help. Be it Griefshare, some type of counseling or a grief support group. Finding common ground with those who are walking down the same path can bring great comfort and peace of mind.
Now that is a good thing!
For more information on Griefshare, visit their Web site.
Susan Lindsey said:
So totally agree with you – GriefShare was a lifeline for me in an ocean of doubt and despair. It was a safe place where I could go and just cry and everybody understood and didn’t pressure me to talk. When you lose a father like you and I did, we feel such a responsibility to be strong for our moms, and in the process, we don’t adequately deal with our own grief. A program like GriefShare allows you to deal with grief at your own pace with the support of people who have gone through it before you and who are going through it alongside you. Sometimes people will go through the 13-week study more than once, and it is always helpful. Tracy, I will never, ever forget calling your mom on the day of my dad’s birthday (it was about 4 months after he had died). I was supposed to meet my mom at the cemetery to change out the flowers, and I was a total basket case – I literally couldn’t stop crying. Your mom was helping to lead the GriefShare group I was attending, so I called her, and she prayed for me over the phone; it was so encouraging to have someone to call on to stand in the gap for me that day. I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone who is going through grief to seek out a GriefShare group – it truly helps you see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Oh, Susan, I am so glad you got the same comfort as I did from Griefshare. It is hard to explain to others how much good I got from it. I am also glad Mom was there for you that day. We miss your Mom and Dad so much. They were so precious. Thanks for your kind words.
Joan Schroeder said:
I found Bereaved Parents of the USA to help me after Alan died. No one can imagine the sudden loss of a child – I can imagine nothing worse. Everyone grieves in their own way and help during times of grief comes in many different forms.
Absolutely. Wherever you can find the support and healing is great. Bereaved Parents of the USA is definitely a good one.