Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Grief Cafe

When a loved one dies, survivors join the Club. There are no dues and only one initiation rite, which we’ve already gone through. A glance in the eyes is enough to tell who is a member. But to participate in the Grief Café, you have to open the door.

It doesn’t matter who died or under what circumstances, whether it was our spouse, parent, sibling, friend or stillborn infant. We loved them and our hearts are broken and leaking.

When we realize that we don’t grieve well in private, when we realize that most of our friends don't know what to say, we open the door to the Café and find people who understand. When we take the risk of sharing our grief with others, we begin to pick up what’s left of our lives.

We understand grief in the Grief Café. We accept each other as we are. We listen to what grief is doing in each other’s lives and help each other discover the way that we need to grieve. We do not say, “It will be okay,” because it will never be okay that our loved ones died, to quote Megan Devine. We do not say, “It’s time that you moved on” because that’s something only you can decide. With the help of each other, we will get through this. We will never give in, and we will never let the other give up.

While the terrain of our losses is different, the same river flows through them.

Members of the Grief Café are not always obvious when we’re walking down the street, and it’s considered creepy to walk up to a stranger and whisper, “Do you grieve?” But begin talking about sorrow, grief or death, and we know the chapter and page of grief’s manual you’re on.

At times we may seem indifferent to news of another tragedy because on some days all the death and suffering going on around us become too much. Some days we are overwhelmed by our own grief and have to step away for a time. We're not surprised by the news, because so many people die unexpectedly, and too many die young, but inside we feel our hearts and spirits drop.

Sometimes we are hyper-protective about preventing accidents, and we overreact to sniffles. We may have to say “I love you” every time a family member or a friend walks out the door, because we know there are no do-overs. People die suddenly all the time. People we love.

The Grief Café has many members, including some who won’t admit they belong.

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  1. Strange but true how easily people who have known loss will bond. Ever since my daughter died, four years ago, most of my friends are those in the club.

    1. It's sad that this is true, Robin. But we gravitate to those who understand and can help us understand more.