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View Diary: The Grieving Room: Grief Open Thread (29 comments)

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  •  Working through the loss of a close friend (4+ / 0-)

    and in need of some support and/or advice.  
    It's almost one month since the Christmas Eve death of my best friend.  That term may seem a bit juvenile for people in their 40's, but she always called me her "best frand" in her delightful southern accent,  so I feel the need to honor that.  And she was, truly, my closest/best friend for many years.
    My friend's death was brutal and unexpected, and I found out about it on Christmas morning when my husband and I awoke to check our phones (which had been put on silent the night before for church and later family celebrations) full of urgent voicemails and texts from friends. The news of her death upon checking in with those friends came with the double whammy of having been at the hand of her 17-year-old son who we've all seen grow up as a happy-go-lucky, doted-on, and amazingly polite kid since he was a little bitty thing.  His life is now over as well which is another loss that is difficult to reconcile.
    And it's really a triple whammy considering she and I were also co-workers who have taught next door to each other for the past 10 or so years.  We taught the same subject and collaborated on nearly everything we did education-wise for at least that long.  So I've lost my best friend and also my closest colleague and confidant at work.  
    Although, I seem to be holding up well to those looking in on the outside, I know that I'm just avoiding the grief and focusing on other things instead - helping the family, speaking at the funeral, organizing a memorial, helping our students cope... etc. I most often grieve and cry at night alone when my husband has gone to bed, and I'm awake reading and re-reading articles online about her murder or trying to come up with plans for some kind of permanent memorial or foundation in her honor.  Crying a bit right now, in fact.
    I've looked for grief support groups in my area - not a small town - but not that big either, and they all seem to be faith-based. I was raised in the church, but haven't attended for many years, so that is not my first choice for working through something like this.  And also feeling like many groups I've seen are more geared towards the loss of a family member and that my own grief doesn't quite measure up to that level.  And perhaps I'm more expected to just deal with it on my own. Which is daunting.
    So... any perspectives on a loss like this, general advice for finding grief support, or commiserations would be appreciated.
    Kat

    •  I'm so sorry for your loss (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kit RMP, TrueBlueMajority

      Friends are hard to come by, and the loss of someone with whom you were close both personally and professionally leaves a huge void.  Your grief isn't 'less' because she wasn't a family member, and the tragic circumstances only compound everyone's shock and pain.

      Instead of a group, where you might feel more judged than supported, what about some time with a therapist or counselor?  Was grief counseling offered to the students at your school?  Perhaps that would be a place to start.

      There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

      by puzzled on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 08:53:00 PM PST

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      •  so true, puzzled (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kit RMP

        grief should be measured in less or more.  it is so personal to everyone.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 06:07:27 AM PST

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      •  Thanks, puzzled. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kit RMP

        There were grief counselors at our school the first week we were back after the holiday break, and they were available for both students and faculty.  At the time, I felt like I just needed to hold it together both for my students and my own way of coping with it during the school day - once I let the walls down at school, it would be hard to get them back in place, right? Anyway, I didn't see leaving one of my classes to talk to someone as the best option at the time.

        I was really hoping for a group because it seemed like it might be a less stressful environment - I could maybe sit back and listen at first rather than having the pressure to share, share, share about what happened and what I'm feeling immediately.  I'm an introvert by nature; so listening for a bit, and then joining in when I'm ready is more comfortable for me.  Individual therapy is something I'll explore though if I can't find an appropriate group soon and still feel that I need more help working through this.  Thanks for the advice :)    

    •  we are not faith based here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kit RMP

      so you can vent and cry out as much as you need to.  i think writing helps a lot, at least writing helped me and helped a lot of others here.

      since you asked for advice, my suggestion in finding a non-religious grief group is to contact hospice organizations in your area.  Hospitals and nursing homes can give you the phone numbers of hospice organizations.  That's how I found my grief counselor and she has been a godsend, especially in that first awful year.

      if you live in a small town, maybe there is something you can travel to in the nearest big city every other week, or even once a month.

      and we are here every Monday

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 06:03:18 AM PST

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      •  Thanks, TrueBlueMajority (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kit RMP, TrueBlueMajority

        Writing has helped me as well, I think.  Writing something to share at my friend's funeral was hard as hell (and even harder for me to stand up and share), but it gave me a sense of purpose that I was doing something to honor her memory and to do my part to share with her family just how much she meant to so many of us who were so close to her.

        Writing what I did last night here on DK was the first time I've shared with anyone what that experience of finding out about her death was like.  I didn't even really cry that morning when I first found out - just cussed and said "Oh my God" a lot as I remember.  And then tried to go on through Christmas Day and all the family obligations and plans without completely falling apart.  Which I managed to do fairly well, I think.  And that really made me think that I was a bad friend or an incomplete person at the time. What is so wrong or broken with me that I couldn't even cry and fall apart over my best friend's death? How could I just soldier on so as not to ruin everyone else's day - what kind of normal response is that? But writing about it makes it real and put me in touch with the deep emotions that are always there, just stuffed safely and carefully away under the surface.

        I will check into hospice.  I did see a link for that on one of the local grief-related websites I found but wasn't sure what kind of resources they might have.  Thanks for the advice :)  And I will check back in here on future Mondays - thanks so much for providing the forum.  

        •  a delayed/subdued reaction is *perfectly normal* (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kit RMP

          sometimes a death is such a shock that your mind and body don;t completely react right away.

          it is a protective mechanism that lets you soldier on when you have to without falling apart

          you may fall apart later, you may not, but i want to reassure you that i've seen a LOT of grief and your response was perfectly normal

          please keep in touch

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 08:54:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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