The Art of Living Lost: Oh Good Grief!

IMG_6054Thursday, November 19th was National Children’s Grief Awareness Day.  In honor of the people who lovingly dedicate their time to support our grieving children, I’m re-posting a BLOG I wrote describing our personal grief experience.

So, is there such a thing as Good grief?  Good food?  Yes.  Good wine?  Absolutely!  But Good grief, who knew?  As parents of triplets, Chris and I were a team; disciplined and organized.  Three babies, two parents?  No problem. Changing, feeding, dressing, reading, math, history; somehow, we got it done.  After Chris died, I wondered how I would adjust to raising kids, managing a home and running a business.  When it came to grief, we just ambled along.  I asked the kids questions from the age appropriate checklists.  Are you angry?  Are you depressed?  Do you understand that Dad is never coming back?  No, no and yes.  We were fine, right?  Life went on.  So what if I cried in the car every day and I took five-hour naps? We still got up, got dressed and did homework.

We. Were. Fine.

Wait, back up, if I cried and wanted to sleep for hours on end; what were the kids thinking or feeling?  On this matter, I appealed to a higher source: Aunt M who delicately suggested we try grief counseling.  She did the research and provided the contact information; all I needed to do was make the call and schedule an appointment.  So, what’s a mom to do?  I made the call and scheduled an appointment.  A week later, we made the trek to Good Grief.  Yes, that’s the name of our grief group – Good Grief.  Upon arrival I noticed the meeting rooms were decorated with loving notes from kids to parents and siblings.  Pictures of beautiful mothers, strong fathers and smiling children lined the walls.  My children spoke excitedly about which picture we would add of Chris; I gulped back tears at the overwhelming sense loss.  Even though I was a grieving widow it was easy and natural to feel grief for every soul lovingly posted to the wall of remembrance.  So while I slyly wiped away tears, my kids fell in love with Good Grief.

A week later, we were cautiously optimistic when we arrived for our first night of support.  My kids were assigned to an age appropriate group and shuttled off to hang out or chat about himself, herself or the person who died.  They also had the opportunity to take part in a group activity geared towards encouraging open and safe dialog.  And, that’s pretty much all I can say; that’s all I know.  You see, there is a big rule at Good Grief and that is – what’s said at Good Grief stays at Good Grief.  Participation is always optional and the kids are amazingly kind, understanding and compassionate.

Maybe there is more to the story – who knows?  I can say this; my children always leave Good Grief joyous and happy. They speak excitedly about video games and laugh about music and books.  Is it possible that discussing day-to-day things in an environment engineered to discuss peer-grief is therapeutic?   Again, who knows?  I’m just happy my kids are happy.  I read once “Grief never ends…but it changes.  It’s a passage, not a place to stay.  Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith.  It is the price of love. – Author Unknown”.

For my beautiful kids, grief is good.  It’s a reminder that they can love and that they are very well-loved and, for this we are grateful.

Have a wonderful week,