It’s coming up on a year since my mom died.
The anniversary is a scant three weeks away and after all these months of just trying to put it behind me, I received a phone call inviting me to join a grief group. I’d forgotten about the whole grief group thing. The hospice I once worked for sponsors them twice a year and, in an early effort to Be Diligent and Do Grieving Right, I’d looked into joining one a few months after she died. But the timing was off and I fell into a crack between sessions.
Which wasn’t a problem mind you. I’m not really much of a group person. I look askance at help. It’s more my style to see if I can’t just cope with the pain on my own. In fact, I like doing things alone so much that a frustrated friend once pointed out that my name itself is an acronym for it: DIA – Do It Alone.
By the time the chaplain called to let me know a new group was forming I was polite but no longer interested. I didn’t want to join for a lot of reasons but mainly because it didn’t seem like I should need to anymore. I mean, it was almost a year already. It wasn’t time to start something new, it was time to wrap things up. The official mourning period was drawing to a close and, I’m so sorry but really, there’s a schedule to keep with this kind of thing.
But somehow, when I opened my big, fat mouth to give him my answer, that stupid orifice surprised me and said yes. What?! What did you just say? And now I find myself stuck in a room for two hours a week, on Wednesday nights, with people that I don’t know, don’t trust, and don’t want to listen to, struggling to face a whole lot of emotions that I’d actually managed to avoid for nigh on a year by staying away from all the people that I don’t know, don’t trust, and don’t want to listen to.
(Which seems to be just about everybody these days. Sigh.)
There have been two meetings so far and they’ve been pretty much as uncomfortable as I feared. Mostly I sit there with my mouth closed (oh…so now you shut up?) and vacillate between fighting back tears and mentally picking apart whoever else is speaking. I get so irritated. It’s like I have this shitty, angry, little bricklayer inside me who’s trying to build the walls back up again as fast as they come down, but no matter how furiously he works he can’t seem to protect that place in the middle that’s so raw. There’s no way. I can’t seem to hold these other people off no matter how hard I try. I hate it. I hate them. I hate me. I hate the chaplain. And I hate grief groups.
I like the cookies though. They always give us really great cookies.
So two meetings down so far, six to go. I’m sticking with it because the intelligent, compassionate, long-sighted adult in me knows that something good is actually happening and the pay off will be worth it. But honestly, today this is what it feels like to the little kid in me:
Talking sucks. Listening sucks even more. And having to hang around these other fragile, struggling, beautiful people who’ve also been touched by shattering loss sucks most. They make me remember. All I really want to do is go into the garden, forget the whole world and dig in the dirt. Because earthworms and compost don’t care if I’m irrational, bitchy, or sobbing until the snot drips off the end of my nose. They just don’t. They accept me the same way they accept the weather.
Sun or storm, baby. Sun or storm. It’s all just part of the gig.
copyright 2010 Dia Osborn