Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Daily losses and gains

I spoke at a recent meeting at Gilda's Club, a support group for those who have lost loved ones due to cancer. I told Casey's story-a little about her life and also about how she died and then talked about what the grief process has been like for me.I discussed how dificult it is for some to offer support and there was general agreement from all in attendance that something needs to be done to improve the dialogue of loss and that will not only help those who are grieving but also those who try to offer comfort. I took my grief support survey questions and statements and we chuckled over some of the statements that we had heard from others supposedly offered to console. We were able to laugh now but it was not so easy in the months following our loved ones loss. The researchers call it "social ineptitude." The experinece was very helpful for me and all who attended told their story of loss and something about their loved one so we could better understand and feel their loss. After the program was over an elderly gentleman told me that death is a loss but that there were so many others. He proceeded to list several-reduced eyesight and hearing diminishing independence, arthritis in hands preventing him from doing his hobbies, loss of friends who do not know how to treat him after his wife of more than 50 years died. He is right of course. I really had nothing to say except to nod and touch his shoulder. I hope as I age that I will be able to offset these losses with daily gains-a smile, a kind thought, a beautiful sunrise or feeling especially connected to another.

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