Counseling & Support Groups
A few weeks after the funeral, you’ll begin to notice family and friends going back to their normal routines. It’s not meant to be hurtful in any way. They just aren’t grieving at the level you are. And while they may offer to be there for you and “to call them if you need something,” the truth is they really don’t know what to do or even say to you.
Another thing that may happen is people avoiding you or even the topic of how you are doing. They are truly afraid to ask for fear it might upset you. As a society we are not very educated about how to deal with grievers. Think about it. When was this topic ever discussed in your school or at the dinner table? Maybe the “sadness” was discussed briefly at the passing of an elderly relative only to be “swept under the rug” and never discussed again. So many generations were taught to stay strong and put on a happy face during difficult times.
Which only teaches you to avoid the subject and not show any emotion. Grief is a roller coaster of emotions that can flare up at anytime and you should realize that whatever you might be feeling is normal.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is attend a grief support group. We recommend waiting about 30 days before you attend. And we know it will be difficult to get yourself together and walk into a meeting like this, but you will find a lot of other hurting people who “get” where you are. And that can be very comforting.
Typically, the groups are seated in a circle so you can see each other. There are a few rules about confidentiality and not talking too much so that everyone has a turn. The attendees go around the room, with the help of a facilitator, and spend a few minutes discussing what they have been dealing with lately in terms of their grief. You see, everyone’s grief journey is different. There is no formula for how long it will take for you to find acceptance, purpose and joy again.
You’ll learn quickly that what’s happening to you may be happening to others, in terms of how others are treating you, and even have a laugh about what they may be saying. Well intentioned as it sounds, phrases like, “He’s in a better place” or “It was just his time” don’t do a thing to help you. In fact, they may infuriate you.
The benefits of attending a grief support group include learning some coping strategies to get through a particularly hard day. And perhaps you have a significant date ahead or it’s a holiday. They will have some ideas on what to expect during these especially hard times. And you’ll make some new friends that you’ll feel more comfortable being around now and into the future. We’ve seen lifelong friendships created at grief support groups. Especially with women who have lost a spouse or parents who have lost a child.
Some grief support programs offer groups categorized by the type of loss you’ve suffered. Some groups are for Women or Men only and that can be a nice chance to talk about issues you may be having in your marriage. Marriages are especially vulnerable when a couple loses a child. There are even grief support groups for children. Click on Grief Support for a list of support groups in the Louisville area.
At First Hour Grief Support, Inc. we recommend the following listings for group grief support: Please call us at (502) 791-9938 to find out more information.
Counseling in a one-on-one environment can also be beneficial if you don’t feel comfortable attending a group. Most major health insurers cover some kind of psychiatric service and many licensed counselors accept insurance. The ones we have listed here are excellent in helping people navigate grief. You may be having panic attacks or feel lots of anger. Or very depressed.
And while you can “medicate” for the short-term to help you through the first days and weeks, it is not advisable to rely on drugs to help you process your grief. Alcohol is another crutch that you need to be careful with, as many people try to “drown” their grief. Unfortunately, the pain is still there the next day along with a headache and hangover.
Grief is hard work. And it takes you getting actively involved in the process. And being sober and going through the pain. You cannot go around it. And it may take months to years to finally be at peace with your loved one’s passing. All of this depends on the relationship you had with the person that died. Grief is like love in reverse.
Famous author, C.S. Lewis said:
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”
– From the book, A Grief Observed
Grief Groups are every Thursday at the Church located at 920 Blankenbaker Pkway, starting at 7:15pm. There is always a main group meeting plus breakout groups each month:
1st Thursday: 2 Groups – Loss of Child, Loss of Spouse
2nd Thursday: 2 Groups – Loss of Parent, Loss due to Suicide
3rd Thursday: Separate Men’s and Women’s Groups
4th Thursday: Loss due to Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Crestwood Campus: 6201 Crestwood Station
1st Monday – Grief Group for Stillborn, Miscarriage or Infant Loss 7:00 – 8:30pm
Elizabethtown Campus: 600 N. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701
Wednesdays – Support/Recovery Groups 7:00 – 8:30pm
Infant Loss Group: Starts June 3, 2019
Infant Loss Group @ University of Louisville Hospital | The Glassroom – 530 S. Jackson St, Louisville, KY 40202
This group will begin on December 2nd and meet the first Monday of each month from 6:oopm to 7:30pm. For people who have lost babies prebirth and up to 3 years after being born. There is no registration required and no childcare available.
Directions to the Glass Room: Park in the P2 parking lot (located on the left side of Jackson St. after driving underneath the pedway.) and take the elevators to the basement, go out of the double doors to your left, walk to the end of the hall and make a right, you will pass the cafeteria and the Glass Room will be on your right.
For more information call (502) 791-9938.
1st & 3rd Tuesday – General Grief Support Group meets from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in the Student Building–Go into Kidville and find the second floor, room 210. Address: 9900 Brownsboro Road. Contact [email protected] for more information. This is an open group and no need to register.
Restoring Hope Counseling, LLC
Robin Hord, LMFT, LCSW
Certified Grief Specialist