In our hearts forever.

Finally, after four years of realising that such a group would be most helpful, I created a grief support group for mothers coping with child loss on Facebook in August 2014.

At first we interacted only on Facebook.

The first day, within hours of the group being formed, two of the mothers called to say they found the interactions overwhelming. I thought they weren’t sure they wanted to be a part of the group, and I did understand that each one of us may not find the same things helpful. But they said the sharing of experiences was cathartic for them.

One of the members’ family feared she might find the meetings depressing, another member was pressurised to go for a meeting. I believe there is only one way to truly know what would work for us.

This:

The Voice.
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

[Shared by Women’s Web on facebook, link]

Five of us who were in Delhi-NCR, met for the first time on the 30th of October. There was no plan, whoever was free managed to come.

We talked about what hurt and what helped. What we couldn’t understand and the questions that would never be answered. Those of us who had travelled longer on this journey talked about how we were now able to do things we never thought possible.

We also realised our journeys were a lot alike, (which was why knowing what to expect helped), and yet they were different. Which was why it was important that we choose our own paths.

This was around Diwali. As we were leaving, we were in the lift and one of the mothers said, “They are able to put up lights…! I too will be able to do that in five years.” 

One mother, let me call her SP, didn’t come. She said she got ready and got down the lift, reached the car and then sat there wondering what she was doing. She was sure it would be a mistake. She locked the car and went back home and sent a message that she would not be able to come.

We told her we would love it if she came for the next meeting, or the next. Whenever she was ready.

And she did come for the second meeting on 12th December. This meeting went on for over five hours, very positive, very warm and we parted on an unbelievably cheerful note – with many ideas and plans for future.

What made it even more special for me was that the next day was Saturday and two of the mothers, SP and AV agreed to come for the Saturday walk (more Hikes than walks) that I have been going for (with Let’s Walk Gurgaon – but more about these life altering walks in another post).

That warm Saturday morning I will always remember, and it turned out to be a beautiful trail.

The trail

I had never seen so many Pied Kingfishers at one place… Then, as we walked along the 9 km trail, AV said, “I see this as a new beginning for me, IHM.”

I knew what she meant, this was how I had felt when I went for the first walk in March 2014. What was so healing about these walks? That it was possible to be alone or to interact only as much as one wished to? The group’s willingness to walk as slow as their slowest walkers? The always knowing that there was support, in case one needed it? The beauty of the trails? Being with nature? Having to totally focus on the walk (from time to time)?

SP was the other mom who had agreed to come along. She said she had ankle and knee problems in both legs, and she wasn’t sure if she could even complete the walk. But she wanted to try and she did. Her legs hurt, but there were helping hands all along. She finished the trail, but would she ever come for these walks again? Only if she received the same kind of warmth and support she said 😀

Then some days later she called to ask how to save her pictures from the walk from facebook. “I am smiling so sweetly! I can’t believe I am smiling so sweetly! IHM you guys have changed my life in two days!”

She said her legs did hurt but not enough to prevent her from coming for future walks 🙂 Reminded me of how I had felt the first time. I had to take a paracetamol because of the muscle ache and slight fever from the unused to exercise. And I remember how the biggest concern was getting well enough for the next walk.

And that is how 2014 has been for me. Full of hope and healing.

This group is a closed group and only for mothers who have known child loss.

If you know of someone who has lost a child, please let them know about this safe and supportive space –  and let them decide if this is for them. One way would be to write this email [indianhomemaker@gmail.com] on a piece of paper but it would be  better to  message it to them (on their phone) so that it is not misplaced and whenever they are ready, they would have the option of joining.

Another way would to be to send a message on this page, https://www.facebook.com/IHM.Indianhomemaker

UPDATED: The group cannot be found by non members.

Related Posts:

She will live forever in our hearts.

On 19th Jan 2014.

Two photographs in an email.

On 19th Jan 2013.

On 19th Jan 2011.

Do dreams have meanings?

Do you believe that each day promises a fresh beginning?

2011… and an unbelievable dream.

Creating a Support Group

Words do heal.

“The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

It’s Real not Virtual : Love from Crafty Shines…

Just pick it up…

“Grieving parents behave in a different manner. ”

When they cry.

The right way to grieve.

When it is okay to count your blessings.

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The friends I have never met.

Found this being shared on facebook and realised how true this has been for me. Thank You. 

The friends I have never met

My friends online

It’s strange to have a friend that you
have never hugged, shook their hand
or looked into their eyes.

But you have been touched by their soul,
seen the good in their hearts and felt the
warmth of their being.

The friends I have never met are not my
friends untouched for I have felt them
with me when I needed them. I have
confided in them and they are some of
the kindest people I have ever known.

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.