Archive for Grief Support Group

On Dating & Grief Groups

Lady and the Tramp

Ahhhh . . . the dating scene from 1955’s “The Lady and the Tramp.”

In the hospice where I work, the Grief Support Group Guideline #16 states: Members shouldn’t date other members while participating in the support group.

What?

Though not the exact wording, it’s close. As a grief support group leader, I spend the first session on mundane tasks such as explaining confidentiality forms, asking members to write about their expectations, and—like the dullest of substitute teachers—reading aloud every single do and don’t in the group guidelines.

  • We do want them to silence all electronic devices.
  • We don’t want anyone to dominate the conversations. (No gushers, said a friend of mine.)
  • We do desire confidentiality.
  • We don’t want anyone taking recreational drugs.
  • We do want group members to let us know if they’ll miss a session.
  • We don’t want them to do any dating of fellow participants.

There are more guidelines than these, but you get the idea. Read More →

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When Strangers Meet: Grief Support Groups

grief support group

They will see themselves as strangers. But are they?

Less than a week after posting these words, I will begin another first session of a grief support group for those who have experienced the death of a partner or spouse. I’ve led nearly thirty groups since starting work at a hospice in 2012. (Which truthfully means I’m really not an expert, and probably wouldn’t be even if I’d facilitated twice that many groups.)

There will be men and women. They will be stoic. Uncomfortable. Suspicious. Cautious. A few will cry. A few will fight to hold back tears. Though I don’t ask them to say much in the opening gathering, several will be articulate with their responses. Others might barely manage to mumble their names. Some will remain as still as slabs of granite, while others may be in constant motion (feet tapping, hands gesturing, fiddling with a purse). But I predict everyone will focus on what I say, with several hoping I’ll voice some “magic words” to make them quickly feel better. If so, they will be disappointed. Read More →

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Hospice, Grief, and the Well-Dressed Guy

He was dressed for success.

His suit was charcoal gray, the shirt the color of a spring sky, and the tie was snappy. The shoes were shined into mirrors. I figured, since this was my hospice’s grief support group that met mid-day (for those 55 and over), that he was coming from work.

Or maybe the fellow was retired and chose to wear his “Sunday best.” My father, long after his final days of full-time work, frequently donned a nice shirt and cinched up one of the ties he’d worn years before. Until his cruel dementia stole nearly everything about him, Dad might add a sports jacket or color-coordinated sweater to complete the look.

Some guys, office bound or happily retired, like to maintain appearances.

My new group member did.

It was the first session. Read More →

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