At first I was embarrassed to mention here that I've been seeing a bereavement shrink because I had such a negative experience and hated everyone in my first group. And, then again in my second group
I took a shot with Jean because I liked her no nonsense attitude on the phone. I cautiously told her I didn't make it past the third session in two bereavement groups like I was confessing I flunked out of high school. I immediately saw that going one on one with her would earn me my G.E.D.
She bad mouthed my first group (she knew organization by reputation) This took the heat off me and we were instantly aligned through mutual hate. And when I told her my second group was comprised of people 150 years old she groaned and said "Their experience is nothing like yours."
I knew that deep down, I told her. I knew I was fooling myself when I said we were all the same age in grieving years. I felt her rolling her eyes and now after three sessions I see that she rolls them often.
In between rolling her eyes Jean gives me analogies. I love analogies. Easy to remember and it all sinks in. The first analogy she put out there was to think of my family like a boat. The captain has fallen overboard and drown.
Me, the first mate is to step up to the helm - not the son (which often happens if you let it) and not the son-in-law because well, because he's the son-in-law and could be digitally removed from all photos and replaced with a plant.
Jean didn't go into such detail but I did and she rolled her eyes.
Jean told me about the thousands of widows she has seen over the years and how different each person grieves. (she didn't list them) I told her I feel like Jimmy just disappeared and shouldn't I accept this by now? (8 months today)
She gently explained that for all of my adult life he was the one I shared everything with. There is barely a memory that he's not starring in and each day for decades was ours and I looked ahead a future with him in it. Eight months is a blimp on the screen.
I knew all of this. Of course, I did, but hearing it made me see an awful picture almost like it was someone else. This is why this therapy with Jean may help. She insisted I take the helm, but she also gave me permission to treat myself kindly and steer slowly.