Group grief

We have attended two group meetings facilitated by counselor for parents who have recently lost their children. I know that I have written here before about how torn I always was on how closely to read other children's stories or how close I wanted to be to other parents through forums and such. I was very skeptical about how much I might get out of these group sessions versus how painful they might be.

After two meetings, I'm pleasantly surprised that I get something out of them. I don't hold hope that they will help in any great way to heal this wound or to hasten through the worst of the grieving process. I certainly wouldn't say it was a fun way to spend 1.5 hours. I have, so far, gotten something positive out of just talking to people with this awful shared experience. I have spoken and chatted with friends about what my days are like and the challenges I face to make it through them. When I have, I have received love. I have received sympathy. My friends have given me what they can and should as friends. But they haven't nodded their head in understanding. They haven't been able to say, "I feel or do the same thing". It is an odd thing. Intellectually I know I'm not the only one feeling this way or struggling in that way. Intellectually I don't think that I need confirmation of that. But when I sit with these other grieving parents and see their heads nod when I talk about struggling through a workday, or I can relate to the things they say, then something clicks. I can't say that thing that clicks is something that feels good, but there is an odd sort of comfort that it provides.


More everyday things that hurt

I do the bulk of our laundry. I let it pile up throughout the week and typically just do mass laundry on Sunday afternoon. Over the weeks since Nathan died the number of items of his (clothes that had gotten stuck under a bed or pile of junk, or sheets/towels/etc) had dwindled. I think that yesterday was the first laundry day that I didn't process a single item that I identified with Nathan.

All the time

Julia is in Kindergarten now. One of the consequences of this is that she has graduated from the nursery at church to attending "big church" with me. We have now done big church together two or three times and she does great. The hour is a long time to sit quietly but she enjoys parts of it. I can tell her feelings are mixed on it.

As we were driving to church yesterday she talked about how she liked going to big church with me, but that some things were more fun in the nursery. I explained that I understood that but told her how much I enjoyed having her with me. I explained how it was a time with her that I really cherished. And I explained to her how I had loved spending that time with Nathan and that during church I felt sad and missed him a lot and how having her there helped me feel better. She said, "I miss Nathan a lot all of the time". It wasn't the voice of a little girl trying to one-up me by saying she missed him "all of the time" when I was talking about missing him during a specific event. Julia is coping right now by avoidance. It isn't that she won't talk about Nathan with us. She frequently will make comments to me about him, but she won't talk about it long. For the most part she is outwardly doing well when she is busy with school, church, swimming lessons, her new dance lessons, and etc. Her sweet little voice and the message it carried underneath as she said, "I miss Nathan a lot all of the time" really hit me. It is impossible to explain really, but I feel Nathan's loss every minute of every day. It doesn't really matter what I'm doing. It doesn't really matter if I'm avoiding it or actively wrestling with it. It is just always there. I could be projecting my grieving onto Julia, but I don't think so. I think she was expressing this type of constant ache as best she could.

I'm sure it reads like I read too deeply into one simple sentence from a five year old, but I don't think so. You parents out there know that you can tell from tone and delivery when your kid is trying to just outdo you rather than making a simple sincere statement.