By Paul Fiorini
I was at the Assured Hospice booth at the Clallam County Fair when a “graduate” of a grief-bereavement group stopped by. I did not recognize her at first because she looked so different in her face, the carriage of her body and even the tone of her voice. She thanked me for my service to her and talked about how she is now enjoying her life. After we hugged, I realized I was smiling and had great gratitude for the honor I have to walk with those who are grieving.
Why would you come to grief group? You’ve lost somebody(ies) and you feel stuck. You can’t seem to move on with your life. Nothing makes sense anymore. You don’t seem to have energy to do the things you used and still want to do. You have a sense you are withdrawing away from the other important people in your life too much. You have a sense you are too busy and active and need to slow down and you can’t. You can’t stop crying or you can’t cry. Your sleeping, eating and other self-care habits have changed and you don’t like the changes. These are all “normal” reactions to grief and are not bad, but support can be helpful.
What happens in a group? You are free to share or not to share what you feel or think. Nobody will tell you what to feel or think or give you advice unless you ask. Each person’s grief process is unique and that is honored. Groups are not depressing — they are “human” and a full range of emotions and laughter are expressed.
No person is judged for their experience. There is confidentiality. What is shared in the group stays in the group. Each person gets to share in the group and there is no monopolizing by one or two people. The wisdom is in the group who have shared similar losses. People often become friends in the group and meet outside of the group and that is encouraged. My role as the facilitator is to make sure what I just wrote in this paragraph happens.
The group starts on April 20 from 10:30-noon for five Thursdays at the Community Health Conference Room in the Administration Building of the Forks Community Hospital at 550 Fifth. Ave. This is a closed group, so please come on April 20 if you want to attend. There is no cost. There are reflective work assignments between groups, but it is up to you to do them or not. There are no grades.
If you have any questions or want to pre-register by April 17, call Paul Fiorini, Bereavement coordinator at Assured Hospice, at 360-582-3796.