A Safe Place to Heal
“I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process” (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed).
In 2022 Marilyn began to feel an overwhelming sense of grief. Her father had passed away when she was three years old, but she had never fully dealt with her grief. As she sat in a Sunday service at HP Pres, she noticed an upcoming event in the Worship Guide called GriefShare. She had seen signs about it around Dallas before and decided this was an opportunity for her to gain closure.
Marilyn told herself that she “didn’t have to make a commitment and to just take it week by week.” She set a goal for herself that she wanted to be able to share her story without crying after going through GriefShare. The very first session challenged that goal immediately as people all shared their reason for attending. Tears brimmed to the surface as people openly grieved in this space surrounded by people who understood one another’s pain.
Being in an environment where everyone is struggling and going through the same thing helped Marilyn learn that it’s okay to cry when she shares her story and that it doesn’t make her weak. As the weeks in GriefShare went on, leaders shared with the group about practical skills like when to clean out your loved one’s belongings. Although Marilyn was not in a position to use some of those skills, she developed a deeper empathy for others who are grieving.
Reflecting on her time in GriefShare, Marilyn says “Before I was so set on having an image of being strong and not showing her weakness. And now I don’t think that’s possible. I finally realized that I never dealt with it. It had become a way of life and I didn’t consider it something traumatic for me. Dealing with grief and talking about grief won’t kill you. It actually helps you. Feeling that grief is the only way to get through it.”
It was not the journey she expected to go on, but her time in GriefShare helped her face her grief in a safe place, surrounded by people who understand. If you are experiencing a loss, she encourages you to “try one session, well try two because the first session is really hard. Have patience with yourself. If you really base it off your first experience, it won’t help. It was such a blessing to realize that everyone in the room was going through the same thing. Even if you don’t know what everyone is going through, you’re all running the same race.”
Go to hppres.org/care for further resources and information.