Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bereavement Group 101

I've never had much patience or tolerance for old people. Society tells us to expect age to bring wisdom and a clear perspective on life, but most people approach the end of their lives fearful and bitter.

My friends and I spend lots of time promising each other that we "won't get that way" and if we do "please kill me." We laugh a nervous laugh knowing there's a good chance we won't even remember those conversations.

On Tuesday afternoons from 2:15 to 4:15, though, I sit in my bereavement group, younger by at least 20 years, yet I'm 'one of them' in a sense - a widow struggling to reframe my life.

Within the group I'm a an insider, a contemporary hearing about their troubles. Outside the group I'm their trouble making daughter. Life sure does spin us around.

I'm amazed to witness their powerful determination to hold on to themselves and not allow their 'well meaning' children to control them and become their parent. I'm touched by the love they carry for the wrinkled man they shared a half a century with. As they reminese about their husbands we are all the same age.

Now that the old people and me are beginning to mesh I'm thinking maybe next week when the group ends at 4:15 we can all go out for an Early Bird Vodka. Grey Goose?