My last bereavement group session was this week. Apparently we'll meet again in a couple of months just to check in and see whether any of the techniques we learned were actually helpful.
I hadn't really wanted to go to this last session. The groups leader had told us that we were going to be talking about spirituality and I know that at least one person in the group was very strongly religious. She was the one who brought a cake to celebrate her son's birthday the week before; he'd killed himself a few months ago and his birthday was the next day. Anyways, she had been very worried that this same son wouldn't go to Heaven because he'd died by suicide and she'd been praying and praying and praying that he would be allowed to go to Heaven.
I don't believe in Heaven. Or Hell. Or God, even, and I'm definitely not at all religious. I was worried about going to the group because my beliefs don't fit with the beliefs of most of the people there and I was uncomfortable expressing my beliefs or lack thereof. I'd been uncomfortable with the cake the week before and my objection to it wasn't well-received, either.
As it turned out, I didn't have anything to worry about. Isn't that always the case?
One thing that did end up bothering me was that the group leader talked about how we in Ontario get Christmas off from work to celebrate Jesus Christ's birth and Easter off to honour his death. Well... yes, I guess that's sort of true. But not everyone who gets those days off believes in Jesus or cares about his birth or death. Why should everyone be forced into not working just because at one time a majority believed in those events? Is it fair that people who don't believe should be forced to take those days off instead of days that are important to them in their religion (if they have one)?
The group leader did say that this model was a good way to mourn someone: celebrate their birthday and honour their death. And that's true, but I wish that she'd used another example as well for those people that aren't believers. Especially when all this was brought up after I'd said that I didn't believe in all of this. I kind of felt railroaded a bit - just like I had the week before with the cake.
I don't know if I'm withdrawing from people and so I don't feel like I fit in or if I really don't fit in. Either way, I'm happy that these sessions are at an end for now.
BTW, if you're interested, I believe that all living beings are connected by the energy within them and that when any one of them die, the energy just goes back to the universe. We create our own Heaven or Hell in our lives and when we die, we're dead and gone.