categories: Cocktail Hour
From Dave: The following guest post is by my sister, Heidi, who works as the University of North Carolina Bereavement Coordinator and Palliative Care Chaplain.
They say that 90% of our thoughts are redundant. For people who are grieving the loss of a loved one, or going thru a major life-change, their thoughts are usually full of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘if only’ about their loved one. Usually by the time people find their way to my office, they think they are losing their minds. “Actually what you’re saying sounds pretty normal,” I affirm. As a palliative care chaplain and bereavement counselor I’ve learned that people need to hear that they are grieving, and not going crazy.
Grieving is a profoundly humanizing experience, but it can also feel really scary. CS Lewis said, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” So while it is universal and we will all experience loss in this life, people hide their repetitive or unpleasant thoughts because they are embarrassed, or think something is wrong with them, or feel a need to protect family members and friends.
That’s why connecting with other mourning people can be so healing. People tell their story of loss and hear others stories. And it’s in the telling of their story of loss, whether spoken out loud or written down and read aloud, that healing occurs. Researcher Brene Brown says, “We are born for connection and are natural story tellers. But it becomes connection and not just communicating when someone else listens to us.” In talking support groups and writing groups, people who ‘get it’ listen, and understand. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you know how isolating and lonely grief can feel. This kind of social support can facilitate healthy grieving and encourage shifts in perspective.
Change can be hard. In Writing For Our Lives, the healing occurs in the writing of the story and by sharing it with others who can understand our pain. By writing it down, we get it out of our hamster wheel heads and see it differently. This supportive group is open to anyone. It helps those experiencing other life stressors or transitions as well.
And here’s the info for Heidi’s class:
March 24–May 12, 2014, Mondays, 7:00–9:00 pm
Five Oaks Clubhouse
5109 Pine Cone Drive, Durham, NC
“Writing about stressful situations is one of the easiest ways for people to take control of their problems and release negative effects of stress from their bodies and their lives.” –James Pennebaker, Ph.D.
This supportive group is open to anyone. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you know how isolating and lonely grief can feel. Social support can facilitate healthy grieving and encourage shifts in perspective. It helps those experiencing other life stressors or transitions as well. Change can be hard. Join us and take time to remember, to get your thoughts down, to reflect through writing, and to share with others. We will use prompts to tap into our creative expression and begin to gently explore feelings that silence or limit us, so that we may move forward freely. No writing experience necessary!
Leader: Heidi Gessner, MDiv, UCC Minister and UNC Hospitals Bereavement Coordinator and Palliative Care Chaplain
Contact: Heidi Gessner, email@example.com, 919-357-4148