Finally the bereavement group has started in mid November, 2012.
I was very surprised of the size of the group, there were more than
18 people in the group.
People were very quiet.
We were sitting so close each other and made a big circle,
but it seemed like we didn't know how to speak, we weren't sure if we
were allowed to speak at this point.
We were completely closed, mouth shut,
just like a tight buds that doesn't even trust the sun.
Lucy was the main facilitator. (if you haven't read the past post, please click here)
I was there to help to get the chairs out, get people in, while Joan was getting ready for the coffee and the snack, and Lucy was busy organizing the handouts.
I have never experienced the awkward circle in a silence.
We didn't even know if we could smile each other.
It felt like "smile" would be a rude thing to do here.
We all knew the main topic of this group, "suicide", and we knew everyone in the room had experienced the loss, but we couldn't speak about it until Lucy started the group.
Finally Lucy sat in the circle,
I felt such a relief as Lucy started to talk.
We started the group by introducing ourselves.
I have never been to any bereavement group like this.
Perhaps, my bereavement place/opportunity would be at Buddhist Temple while a monk is chanting. Not like in the circle with a group of people who lost a loved ones.
The first person started to introduce her self.
"My name is ****, I'm from Chilliwack,
I lost one of my my family member by suicide 2 years ago."
Then Lucy said casually,
"Well, everyone knows that everyone in this group lost a loved one
by suicide, so we will go more specific about it. Who and How and When. "
Hmmmm, Very awkward....
"My name is ****, I'm from Chilliwack, I lost my son by suicide
2 years ago, by shooting himself."
"My name is ****, I'm from Sardis, I lost my nephew by suicide
4 years ago by hang himself."
"My name is ****, I'm from Chilliwack, I lost my sister by suicide
6 month ago by jumping off from a building."
It continued until everyone finished.
Perhaps, if this group was a cancer bereavement group, they would go with the disease's name, like breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer, brain tumor, etc. But this group would go with the method, hanging, shooting, jumping off, running into the car, medication over dose etc.
It seems very heavy, but actually, I felt it as a sacred circle and and felt honoured.
The first day went by very fast, as every one had a chance to talk a bit more about themselves.
Second week was the similar, but since we had started to open up a bit in a last session,
we were more relaxed.
Third week, I was starting to notice one thing.
"People want to talk very specific about what had happened. Over and over."
They speak the same thing repeatedly.
"They never had a safe place to talk about it. "
One of the rule in the bereavement group is to listen without judgement. Just listen.
Everyone felt safe in the group.
Each time when we were given a subject to talk, "Guilt", "What if's", "Self care", "good memories", it always lead to the conversation of
"What had happened before, during and after." with lots of tears.
It was like getting the heavy sticky phlegm out from the lung, heart, stomach. It feels better each time when the phlegm is out, but the it continues to build up, so people want to get it out repeatedly.
I also noticed more smiles and laughs as the weeks go by.
The buds started to remember to trust the sun, and started to open.