Last night was the follow-up session for the Bereavement Group I'd attended. the facilitator holds these follow-up sessions about three months after the end of the nine week sessions because the grief work doesn't end after those nine weeks and she wants to check in with people. This session also gives everyone a truer picture of what each person experiences as time goes by. apparently some people who go through this group think that they'll do just fine once it's over and they discover that this isn't exactly what happens.
It turns out that I wasn't the only person who'd been having a rough time lately. Interestingly, another person had had a friend tell her that they didn't want to be friends with that person anymore. This isn't exactly the same thing that happened with my sister but there are similarities between the two situations, particularly in the way that person and I reacted. When it comes to news like that, we both prefer honesty over not knowing because neither of us wants to live a lie. Even so, dealing with the news sparked a bit of an identity crisis in both of us. I thought my reaction was me being sensitive and it was a relief to know that it's a normal reaction. Or at least not an abnormal one.
During the session we also did a little art therapy: we had to find six words that describe our feelings right then or recently, choose pencil-crayon colours for each one of those feelings, and use those colours to fill in a 6"-diameter circle. The point of doing the exercise is to check in and see how we're doing and if there's something there that we don't like or aren't comfortable feeling, then the idea is that we'd develop an action plan to deal with those feelings.
My project was a bit of an eye-opener for me. My finished project made it very clear that I'm struggling and need some help. I knew this, of course, but I didn't expect it to be so obvious in the picture. Fortunately, I already have my plan in place (to get help) and I've made steps towards that plan: I've looked at online resources and I have a list of people to call. All I have to do is actually make the calls. I tend to procrastinate at making calls like this so my goal is to have called all the people on my list by the end of next week.
I was nervous about going to this session because I wasn't so happy with the group by the end of it. I'm so happy that I decided to go anyway because I got a lot out of it. Knowing that I wasn't alone in feeling the way I did and that it's ok if I've been feeling sad and panicky and lost was a huge relief and made going to the group worthwhile.