Creating a Support Group

Opinion 1

Many blogging friends have written to say it’s okay to ‘not be strong’  “…don’t set any strict benchmarks for yourself or allow anyone to do so either.. Have you really really cried till date?..” I truly appreciate these emails and  I agree with them.  I do cry. Even when I don’t cry I am still thinking about the  painful weight in my chest – and why it is there.  I have also found that thinking and sharing positive thoughts gives me a lot of comfort – though not everybody might feel this way. And sometimes I worry if finding comfort like this could be  ‘avoiding pain‘.

Opinion 2

A friend, who read the last post (The right way to grieve), called to say I seem to have taken my loss really badly.  He said it was more than a month now and I have been blogging about my grief and nothing else, he felt this indicated that I wasn’t thinking of anything else, probably not even trying to think of something else. He suggested I look for interests other than those related to Tejaswee –  like assume my right hand was cut and I would never forget the hand and the loss will always be felt but it was time to find something other than the right hand to talk about. He suggested I will myself not to think of my loss and pain. This made me understand what ‘avoiding pain‘ means. I don’t think I wish to or am ‘avoiding the pain‘. I am doing nothing more than sharing and reading and trying to understand what I am going through. I had read all I could about pregnancy and child birth when I was carrying my daughter, I read about child rearing when the kids were growing up – some of us need to understand and know about whatever they are doing/going through – I feel I am just being myself… and this is helping me cope.

Also consider what the options are.

1. Is it really possible not to feel the pain?

2. Is it better to think and to feel but not to share it by writing?

3. Or by talking? One really needs to talk.

Tell your story as often as you can in appropriate times and places. Narrating a tragic event helps you to get that it happened, to give it form and focus in your mind, and eventually may help you find some meaning in it all. To people who want to “do something for you,” explain that the most loving thing they can do is listen to your story.

When you are telling your story or talking about your tragedy, do so appropriately. Don’t take more than your fair share of others’ time and attention. I call this “the art of grieving gracefully.” If you talk or cry for too long, everyone else gets very uncomfortable. You will feel their tension and you will become uncomfortable too. There is no healing in talking when others don’t want to hear it any more—it will just make you feel worse in the end. –Robbie Davis-Floyd

(Thanks for the link Indyeah)

4. And what about the times when one isn’t able to sleep? One can cry alone or wake up other family members in the middle of the night. Or…

5. Or one can switch on the laptop and share one’s grief with someone else who understands and feels the same pain? For that one needs Support Groups.

The virtual world is rich with information that makes it possible to hear what people are trying to say when they insist it was time to ‘move on.

Opinion 3

So when another friend called with ‘solutions’ and gave examples of other parents who have ‘moved on’, who are always happy, who socialize (that I am not ready to do yet) and when she insisted that instead of blogging I should ‘get busy‘ doing ‘some social work‘, I could still see that she only wanted to help.

But we really need to know that it helps much more to listen and support than to provide solutions. It is more helpful to let the grieving person talk about how they are  feeling instead of telling them how they should be feeling.

Ignorance like this can do terrible, terrible harm. I know of mothers who have not smiled in years – one of them had lost her son, a doctor, and lived with a blank expression on her face all her life. Another one’s children are not allowed to tell their friends about a brother they once had. Yet another one is so clearly depressed but I never realised it though she lived in the house next door – (I felt there was no other way a mother could possibly take it) – what they needed was Grief Counseling or a Support Group. They needed the compassion of  parents who have faced similar loss. They – each one of them, needed to know that nobody should have been telling them what was the right way for them to ‘get back to normal’. They could have insisted upon support  and not advice/ short cuts/ solutions being provided.

That is why I am creating a new blog – a Support Group for those who have lost a loved one. Thanks for suggesting this How do we know and Sangitha.

Note: Suggestions for a name for the group welcome.

Advertisements

61 thoughts on “Creating a Support Group

  1. I know the people who advised you meant well but I wonder how anyone can know that it’s time for a person to ‘move on’. Also, it would be surprising if you blogged about anything else at this time. I would love to join the support group. To this day, I avoid telling people that I had a sister who died and when I’m asked how many siblings we are, I leave her out with a heavy heart. One reason I do so is that sometimes I get reactions that make me uncomfortable — a blank look, dead silence — which makes me feel I should not have brought it up.

    Like

  2. It’s not just the parents who get affected by buried unexpressed unresolved grief. The shadow of the lost child lingers over the living children…and can have very complicated results. I speak from experience. My kids are going to know about their lost brother…and I’m getting closer to putting up that photo on the wall…thanks to you. Hugs.

    Like

    • And IHM, the way some of us live life is to embrace each and every experience. Like you. Like me.

      I also devoured pregnancy then adoption and parenting books and other resources and support groups, off and on books on healing, and whatever tough happens to me, whether it’s my kids’ behaviour issues, eye problems, health problems, I need to know more and connect with others going thru’ that too. It’s a perfectly legitimate way of coping…and much healthier. I was never able to find a grief support group then, ten years ago online, all were Western-based and I was suffering uniquely Indian issues but was lucky to have friends I could call up and talk, talk, talk.

      I do agree that one gets comfort from different people and sources at different times, one just has to be open to doing what feels right. There may be a time when you may feel a need for privacy and solitude, or a time when the anger overwhelms everything else. Just go with the flow.

      When I was grieving, I tried to connect to some of my friends and family who had lost babies or miscarried, but there was just a haunted look in their eyes and they would brush the topic off quickly, like it was just an unfortunate blip on their life’s radar. And I’ve seen the health and emotional problems they’ve suffered…but not everyone is brave or lucky enough to find support and openness. I’m glad you’re doing this…there are still lots of grieving people who would appreciate the opportunity to connect.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I miscarried last month. I avoid talking about it to people not only because it makes me sad but also because I see it as a personal failure. In the beginning I would feel grief wash all over me and feel incredibly sad, as if there was force pulling me down and swallowing me. Now I don’t even want to think about the grief. But there is a small part of me that doesn’t let me forget it ever.

        IHM, I feel so much for your loss. You are incredibly strong and dealing with such amazing grace! God Bless.

        Like

  3. “But we really need to know that it helps much more to listen and support than to provide solutions. It is more helpful to let the grieving person talk about how they are feeling instead of telling them how they should be feeling.”

    That says it, something sadly enough, very very few people understand! There is no need to offer solutions to anyone. It is more important to listen and to let them find their own bearings in their own time.

    The idea of a support group is a very good one. Hugs IHM

    Like

  4. Can we really analyze and conclude which is the beat way to grieve and come up with a manual? You are doing it in the way you do best, by sharing, reaching out, and writing about each step. Please go on believing in yourself…

    Like

  5. Dear IHM, please do not listen to those who tell you that it is time to move on. As children, we grieve over the loss of a precious toy for a week! How much more infinitely precious is a child, and what is a month?! When I lost my cousin last year, for over 6 months, my thoughts kept going back to the loss, over and over again. And I wasn’t even close to him!

    Please do not second-guess yourself. Let your pain be and help yourself in whatever way you can – if you want to talk about it, talk, and when you don’t feel like talking about it anymore, stop. We are with you in whatever you choose to do. If a mother cannot grieve for her lost daughter, something is wrong with this world. I feel like crying as I write this. People may advise you to move on out of good intentions, but it is not possible. If you cannot write about anything else, that is because you cannot think of anything else. No one in your position possibly can.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You spoke about remembering. And the need to keep your loved one’s memories alive.

    I think the name should have these words: Remembering. love. Remembering with love. or Remembering You.

    I hope today is a good day for you IHM. hug.

    Like

  7. Clearly I feel those people who tell you to move on need help. How can you expect such a thing to happen in the midst of a great loss? I think talking it out helps and your way of sharing it in your blog especially, I don’t have words. It is like taking people thru the stride of pain and coming closer. I love your attitude and please continue the same. Would love to hear more about tejaswee and your feelings. If that helps you get along we are with you.
    Support group is a great idea.
    After my son was back home from the ICU on being diagnosed with KD (@2+ years of age), I wanted to share so much with everyone, the agony and I would see people changing the topic. Now i still get vague questions from the far family about it indirectly. I wonder what people are upto.

    Like

  8. Very nice idea…keep doing that u are comfortable with and that helps u to deal with this heartache. Hugs to you.

    Indy’s link made me write this.

    My grief is nothing when compared to yours. It was a small fire accident in our new home in Hyd, just after we shifted there. The chimney caught fire and burned totally. We used wet mud to stop the fire, as we were scared to use water on an electrical appliance. The plastic in the chimney melted and fell on my stove…my kitchen walls were filled with soot…

    I didnt get a new chimney – I was scared and still I am. I changed my stove and repainted my kitchen. But that didnt help me. I tried to forget it, like a fool. I kept it as a secret, thinking that it’ll make other worry abt things. I was so stupid.

    I lived in constant fear of smoke. Whenever we went out, I imagined that the gas was On, a fire has broken out, something terrible had happened – it was some phobia I lived through. I was scared to fry pappads or puris – the thin smoke which filled the house later, gave me the shrieks.

    All this tension led me into Leukoderma !! Yes, I am suffering for closing up for 4 months. A very good doctor counselled me well and made me understand the importance of talking about that incident again and again. First few times, I cried terribly. But later I felt better to talk abt it.

    The unconscious pressure of our grief, will work so badly on our health. If you want to cry or not, dont stop talking about the grief…let it all out, till you feel normal to talk abt it.

    Hugs and take care, IHM.

    Like

  9. I know how it feels when people come with ideas and solutions , all with a good intention but end up making the situation worse …
    Each n every person has a different emotional make up and needs to handle her/his stress in a different way ….how can it be wrong or right ….it’s just my way .

    The support group is a great idea but i hope it could have been something out of this computer screen ….burning eyes don’t pair well with a throbbing head you know…. ask me.
    The Knitting Circle is still on my mind.

    Like

  10. IHM…agree with you …to ‘will’ yourself to do something at this time seems unnatural…instead recognizing the feelings/emotions that a person is going through and finding someone who would listen and provide support when undergoing them seems helpful…

    Like

  11. Totally agree with you IHM, noone should tell you or anyone how they should or shouldnt be feeling when grieving for such an unimaginable loss. Hugs

    Creating a support group is a really good idea. Will think of some names and get back to you.

    I havent been commenting regularly lately, but am reading all your posts. Sometimes I am just at loss of words. But want to let you know that you are in my thoughts…and I am listening.

    Take care IHM

    Like

  12. ‘But we really need to know that it helps much more to listen and support than to provide solutions. It is more helpful to let the grieving person talk about how they are feeling instead of telling them how they should be feeling’ – This makes so much sense. I remember reading somewhere about how a mother was not allowed to talk about her loss, and that made it much worse for her. Everybody around her would just avoid talking about her loss, as if avoiding it would make it disappear. This lady, then found solace in a support group. Let me see if I can dig it up for you. Reading this post, reminded me of her.

    The idea of a support group blog is wonderful. I am sure it would be a place where a lot of people would get a lot of comfort and solace from.

    Like

  13. I think it is a great idea. After writing the comment yesterday, was thinking it could even be an online thing….good for privacy and sharing with the participants choosing their level of comfort. Good to see you going with this, IHM.

    I learn well through reading. And going in depth with it to figure out whatever it is in my life that I need to figure out at that time. So have loose study circles on adoption to supplement reading, have attended parenting workshops to help me work on myself. I don’t see why reading about grief and working on yourself in a way you are most comfortable is not okay.

    It is not everyone’s way, but so what? People have scoffed to say ‘parenting is not learned from books’ and yet, I have found it easier to not repeat others’ published mistakes (why not make one’s own ‘original’ mistake?!). Whatever works for you, being the bottom line. Please do let me know if there is absolutely anything I can do.

    Like

  14. Very humbly:

    Who can tell you if it’s wrong to cry?
    Who can say what’s good, and why?
    You will know in your heart,
    The right thing for you to do,
    And you will judge when it’s time to,
    Let the tears fall and let out a simple sigh.
    How dare I say this, who am I?
    I am a mother,
    And like you, twice over,
    Daughter is the one who is saner,
    Younger son is the prankster.
    who was also ill with Dengue,
    He is ok, but I am truly sorry for losing Tejaswee,
    Even with this, I can just pretend to imagine,
    But the extent of your grief, I cannot determine.
    Your strength inspires us all IHM,
    Your views through your blog are my guide.
    I really hope for you and me that you will always continue to write.
    For the light of your eyes, Tejaswee is now shining for all to see.

    Like

    • Thanks to Roli..for the wonderful poem…!!!

      Don’t ever think twice to share what you feel with the world with your blog…and also your silence…whatever suits you,..make you feel comfortable at the moment ..do it..

      It is easy to say that you should behave like this or that and you should not behave like this or that…But no one except who has gone through this can understand and empathise your feelings..

      Let me say again which has been said so often…the blogger community is always with you…you who has been such a tremendous source of strenght for so many…

      Peace.
      Anjaan Rahgir

      Like

  15. I’m upset on your behalf, IHM. I’m always appalled at the things people say to the grieving. Someone once said to me, that these things are said more for themselves than for the person who is grieving. I don’t know…….I seem to think it stems from great insensitivity.

    Your idea is wonderful. Take a look at this http://www.support4grief.in – I’m not sure how active this is.

    I think it would be great to have a blog/ website where we could also do some sensitivity training for people to know how to deal with the bereaved.

    Love and hugs.

    Like

  16. I second your idea of a support group. And again, I don’t think anyone has any right to tell you to stop grieving! At least no one in the support group will ask you to shut up, sorry I am being harsh to people who have said that to you but I feel like they deserve it!

    Like

  17. Good luck to you, IHM. Hope you and your family find the support you need wherever you look for it. Do whatever you need to do to work through your grief. Write about it, read about it, talk about, don’t talk about it. It’s your pain and you should do whatever is appropriate for you to cope with the unimaginable loss you have suffered. There is no one way and no one right way. Whatever works for you is the right way. My deepest sympathies.

    Like

  18. I so agree when you say sometimes we just need someone to hear us out..without giving opinions, without suggesting the “right” way to do things, without judging us in any manner. Be it the loss of a near and dear one or any other problem, sometimes just being the “sink” to the “source” of grief helps.
    And again, do what makes you feel better. best wishes and hugs .

    Like

  19. Oh IHM – nobody can tell you how long you ‘should’ grieve for or how quickly you should start to socialise and start writing about upbeat matters.
    And lets face it – you will never ‘move on’ from your daughter – she is with your forever. But I do know what might happen over time: you will look back with greater clarity; you will look back with great love and tenderness; and you will be able to breathe again without the weight on your chest. Sometimes you will cry for ‘no reason’. You will see the world again without wondering how it continues to go on. You will become aware that the sun rises regardless of the human condition and the Earth turns just the same. You will wonder how.
    You will laugh again – when you are ready. And you will be surprised the first few times that you do because you thought you never would. But this doesn’t mean you have moved on or forgotten or bounced back. It means that you have found your own way through. And it has to be on your own terms, timeline and instinct – not on when others think its time.
    I know you know all of this inside, but be kind to yourself. You are a human being undertaking a terrifying journey that as a parent, you never dared to even think about. You didn’t make this life choice – and yet you have to live with the consequnces. How can anybody tell you how you should be taking this journey? It’s yours to navigate and others should merely support you.
    Ideas for a new blog name? How about something to do with Empathy and Compassion and Freedom?
    Take care my friend. I think of you every day.

    Like

  20. The support group is a nice idea. Sometimes opening up to other people and talking about grief do help. And it’s truly nobody’s business to tell you when you should stop grieving. I lost my most beloved aunt more than a year ago and I have still not overcome that shock and grief. You are a very strong woman, IHM, but in daunting times like this, anyone can break down. They say time heals everything….and do take care of yourself.
    With best wishes,
    AW

    Like

  21. I am finding it very helpful that you continue to talk about and explore grief. A very dear friend of mine was killed in a car crash earlier this year (she was 28 years old). I am also trying to figure out how to navigate the life-crushing grief.

    Like

  22. Ever since the news, I have not figured what to tell you, no I have no advice to offer, I cant know how you feel and have no clue what to suggest… but I must say one thing I admire your strength…

    Like

  23. You know I know how you feel. Our lives and our hearts are crushed . You are doing a good work through your blog. Keep looking up , as looking down will do our families no good. I would hug you if I could, take care of yourself, Gina

    Like

  24. I think
    it will happen automatically, time will heal the pain .
    more we try to forget more it will come back with more force.
    It is better to discuss, share, write .
    Time is the only solution

    Like

  25. I think creating a support group is wonderful idea. It’s good to be around people who understand how you’re feeling. No one should tell how you should grieve, people have their own individual ways of dealing with a loss. Besides what exactly is “grieving gracefully?” I don’t even know what that means.

    Of course you’ve taken the loss badly, it was your very own daughter. How could one not take it badly? It’s going to take some time, and it has to happen at your own pace.

    Like

    • Your comment is insensitive and thoughtless. How can you say to someone that their grief is ‘overreacting’? What makes you qualified to judge this?

      Like

    • only a man can say that.. You guys don’t have any emotional bone in u, do u? It was her daughter for God sake, not some old dish or piece of clothing that u throw it out and don’t think about it. You need to grow up! especially emotionally! and learn how to respond to someone in particular situation. And sometime keeping ur thoughts(like urs) to urself is the biggest help than blabbering it out..

      Like

      • “Only a man can say that”
        I too think Ravichandra’s comment is insensitive and callous, but this is not fair, mommy. We tend to discount a man’s depth in feelings and emotions, and that only perpetuates the gender divide.

        Like

    • ‘over reacting’ ‘keeping loss alive’ ???? wow man – why don’t you cut your arm off and then prove to the world that you feel its perfectly natural to walk around with one arm – Why don’t you set an example/ guide to reactions. Maybe then we can follow!!!

      Like

  26. The support group is a wonderful idea…count me in! 🙂 And God bless you sweetheart …

    And what about the times when one isn’t able to sleep? One can cry alone or wake up other family members in the middle of the night. Or…

    Or one can switch on the laptop and share one’s grief with someone else who understands and feels the same pain? For that one needs Support Groups.
    I totally understand where it comes from. Coz I’ve been there, done that. 😐

    Like

  27. Since the day I came to know this news I was not able to gather the courage to visit your site
    and today as well I cant say anything except please do take care

    Like

  28. I can send u this >:D< loads and loads of hugs

    You are taking the pain most strongly u can so don't think its time to move on……time heals and it will this time too…..
    Support group is great idea….count me in ……and just go ahead

    Take care lady ……things will be fine as you are taking all in right way 🙂
    God bless u always.

    Like

  29. A support group is a very nice idea. There are so many people who do not talk about their grief. Talking is healthy. No can and should tell you when to move on. Honestly, I do not think you can just move on because somebody tells you to.

    You are being very strong. If you do not feel like doing anything else, it is still okay. Just make sure you and your family are taking good care of your health. That’s the most important thing right now.

    Like

  30. “shootingstars” .. for they come to be known to us in a life that passes by a flash – they teach us to wish – they help us believe – they comfort us that miracles happen – and most of it whenever we think about that moment they arrived in our lives – we smile – no matter how long ago the shooting star was lost in the sky!

    My suggestion for a name .. Hugs….

    Like

    • Thanks Starry 🙂

      IHM: Ketu means shooting star in Sanskrit and Naman in Sanksrit means salution/rememberance – So Ketu-Naman: A fond salutation/rememberance to all the shooting stars who taught us to live, laugh and love and even survive their loss?

      The best I could come up with and the least I can do – Hugs 🙂

      Like

  31. Solace or Saantwana as it is called in hindi …could be the support group.

    Just lost my brother in law on the sixteenth of sept. to massive cardiac arrest. Though we as an extended family have shifted under one roof and are trying to share the grief,my sister in law definitely needs one such forum …As you mentioned she is at complete loss when she tries to understand her pain..is she grieving,have her tears dried,is she right when she tries to resume her duties towards her children with a smile ..is it ok to not let her tears flow when people visit..are peole judging her ..only questions,no answers.
    Totally shaken up right now..will sure make her read your posts ..TC

    Like

  32. Hi IHM,

    I think it is a wonderful idea to start a support group. The only name that comes to my mind is ‘together we heal’.

    Lots of love and hugs

    Like

  33. Dear IHM,

    My deepest condolence. She must have been a beautiful person. You have great strength to think of supporting others while you yourself are dealing with loss.

    My Best
    RE

    Like

  34. very well said IHM… though some one who is not associated might feel the pain it obviously will not be at the same level n so giving solution might not be the best of things to do… count us in for the support group ::hugs::

    i lost my cousin last year – he was 25 n a father of a 1 year old cute lil kid… n it really did come as a big shock to all of us – we were living in different places n so we werent that much in touch but stilll a brother is a brother hey na… we jus couldnt believe our own ears n my aunt n uncle had to rush to chicago to perform their last rites – it was a really tough time – my aunt din feel lik opening up n i know tht she still feels the loss n she had actly come online only a few weeks ago… she doesnt frequent the web like b4… it really makes us feel sad but being way too young i dont even know what to tell her… cos i dono if she wants to spk abt it or… n now i think may be its the right way to tell things out – both the one in pain n their kins will know exactly what to say or what to do only then… or so i think…

    heres his link http://www.respectance.com/Anand_Kannabiran/

    Like

  35. Hugsss!!!

    No one can tell you what to feel
    No one can tell you what to do
    No one has the right
    No one is living in your shoe!!!

    take your time
    deal with it the way you feel you are ready to!!

    but just remember,
    you are not alone dear IHM!!

    Like

  36. IHM, i commented before, but offered no comfort.
    T’s death is a tremendous loss, no question about it.
    But i read a thought on the loss of life that affected me deeply.
    Who are our husbands to us before we were married to them? Who are are parents to us before they brought us to this world? Attachments come and go.

    A young man studying for an exam is irritated when his neighbor, a girl he doesn’t know, is sick and visited by a barrage of friends and family, because it was difficult for him to concentrate in the midst of the chaos. The girl recovers and is married to the same man a few years later. In the first week of their marriage she has a slight headache and the man rushes to bring a doctor and attend to his wife. Where did that love and fervor come from?

    We all come into this world with a purpose and leave it when we are done serving it. Death is to the body, not soul. According to Hindi scriptures, the soul sheds a body and takes on another, almost as simply as changing a shirt. What comes in between is temporary. We attempt to build a home on the bridge between life and death, and are affected by loss and gain, pain and pleasure, etc dualities. But like a headmaster in charge of a school, we are created to do our best during our term and give everything up when we are transferred. In fact, the tradition of bringing sweets to the 11th day ceremony after death is to celebrate the dead person’s freedom from this world and journey to the next.

    Of course, all this is easier said than practiced. I wanted to share this, in case any of it helps. You’re doing a great job. May God continue to give you the strength to cope with your loss. As they say, some flowers bloom in heaven and T is one of them.

    Like

  37. IHM, I think the best way to grieve is to do what comes naturally to you. If you feel like crying, cry. If you don’t feel like crying, don’t. If you feel that reading up and understanding the process gives you strength, why not? I find it strange that people would tell you to move on after a month or two. Maybe after five years, if you have that “blank look” you alluded to, those close to you (and only those very close to you) could raise it. I think it’s perfectly natural for you to write about your grief and your daughter on your blog since that is something huge that has happened in your life. That’s the point of having a blog, isn’t it? That you can share what’s important to you. And although I am not and have not gone through what you are, I thought your posts about how to deal with grief were quite constructive and might actually touch those in a similar situation. The support group sounds like a great idea and I think you will be a wonderful facilitator. Bottom line, take one day at a time and do what you feel like each day, eventually the pain will get less.

    Like

  38. It makes perfect sense to have a support group IHM. People with similar losses can sometime understand each other better. At the same time, others can help with different perspectives. There is so much world can get from such group activities.

    Like

  39. IHM, we hear you.

    Everyone has their own ways of grieving. Everyone has their own grief. The level of emotional investment made varies, and so dealing with every loss is different.

    I so appreciate the graceful way in which you discount your wellwishers and their coping techniques. To understand that they are trying in their own ways to help you.

    The support group is such a thoughtful idea. Wish that would help bring peace and comfort for many grieving hearts.

    Like

  40. I am really impressed and liked your idea and even your way of helping people. As you deal with loss, there may be some days when you feel like you have made progress with healing. You will be able to enjoy life again. Hang on to hope, as it is the most important thing you can do.

    Like

  41. Pingback: In our hearts forever. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s