There are times in life when I had the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone by doing something new, such as this blog. I never liked nor thought I was good at writing but saw this blog as another opportunity to help grieving people and educate those not grieving.
However, when Joe’s sudden death hit, I did not step outside my comfort zone. Some invisible force came along and hurled me way outside my comfort zone. I flew through the air with the greatest of ease and did a face plant on the ground with a tremendous thud.
Once outside my comfort I had a choice, do I climb the boxing ring’s ropes, slowly and surely or do I just lay on the mat, down and out for the count? Life has knocked me down many times but each time I got up again.
But this time was different.
In the days after Joe’s passing, I did what I had to do regarding the funeral arrangements. But was I going to get up after the initial shock waved passed?
My church offered Church Initiative’s Griefshare program (Griefshare.org) and I knew my attendance was mandatory if there was a snowballs’ chance in hell surviving this nightmare.
Management was nice enough to let me rearrange my schedule one day a week so I could attend. At first I did not believe this program was going to take me “From Mourning to Joy” but after a few weeks, I started making slow but steady turtle-like progress.
“More Actual Guidelines.”
Each week we viewed a video, took a snack break (very few events get held in our church without food being available) and then discussed the video. Once we started our discussions, the conversations took on a life of their own. Rarely did we stick to the questions in the book. (“We figured they were more actual guidelines.” – Mr. Gibbs/Pirates of the Carribbean: The curse of the Black Pearl). The facilitator’s just let God control the conversations after all he knew best what needed discussed.
I completed the 13 week session and then went back for another round. Attending two thirteen week sessions was recommended because I would be in a different place in my grief the second time, enabling me to pick up on items previously missed.
The Griefshare classes were my rock, my stabilizing force for getting through the week. I shared time with others on a grief journey and learned to relate to my fellow class members even though we did not share the same type of loss. I was amazed at how God worked through this program to heal and get us moving forward with life.
Have not left yet.
I started the program in June 2008 and in June 2009 started serving as Co-facilitator. We run the program year-round with only a few weeks off during the year. It is amazing the progress I see in people who are strong enough to attend the sessions.
That is right – those who are strong seek help.
Whether it is the Griefshare program, seeing a professional grief counselor, or another type of grief recovery program, the strong seek help because they realize they are weak.
Doing the recovery work is not easy but it is worth it – unless you want to stay on the boxing ring mat, down and out for the count.