At the start of this new year, our weekly Touchpoint Grief Group will revisit the topics from my seasonal 8-week group curriculum much like we did back in April 2020. This is an opportunity for those who are new to the group to discuss these important grief topics in a moderated zoom meeting without needing to register and commit to my seasonal group. This way, there is no pressure to miss a week if needed. This week we will begin with the topic of “Sharing Your Story.” As always, we will do a check-in for the first 30-40 minutes with the group. Then I will invite you to share a 5-minute story with us about your grief. Read below to see what I mean when I say “your story.” Most importantly, share what is relevant to you now in your grief, not focused information you think the group may need to know, or what fits a typical grief narrative. This story is snapshot of your grief, and will help you to learn a lot about yourself.
Sharing your story with others is an incredibly therapeutic “hurdle” to get over on the first day in a group with new people. I cannot offer you a blueprint or guide for crafting the story you so desperately need to share, but instead I offer you encouragement. No matter how many words you say, once you begin this process of sharing and of listening to other’s stories, you can begin to hear your own words and you will know more about yourself than before. So how do we begin to share our stories? In grief group, we begin by finding a trusting safe space to practice telling it, to get the “feel” for the words that you never wished to say out loud.
During the journey of grief, whether it is from the death of a loved one, or through a traumatic experience that has changed your life and identity, you will probably tell your story more times than you might wish. Sometimes you are telling the story to yourself, over and over in your head, analyzing every detail of every moment. Sometimes you are sharing with a trusted friend or therapist. But quite often you are sharing your story because someone asked you about it, maybe when you least expect to share it. Whenever this may happen to you, you will be faced with the question “Where do I begin?” You might begin five years back, 20 years back, you may begin the day of a hospital stay or the day of a major life event. You may have no clue where to begin. Our story where we most need to begin at that moment. It depends on how you are feeling that day, what is most on your mind, this story is never recounted exactly the same way twice.
During this challenging time in our world, we have stories, a history which bond us. Some of us may go through this time without experiencing illness or the death of a loved one. Some of us will have more sadness than we can bear. Others will deal with the toll that loneliness can take during this time of social distancing. All of these experiences are stories that will need to be shared. Where do you begin? That is up to you, right now, at this moment. Tomorrow, your story will start somewhere else.
In my experience, crafting the story of your grief can (very) generally fall into two methods of narrative for some, for others, they are more integrated. These methods I have come to see as either detail-oriented, or feelings-oriented, and these really depend on you at that moment. In sharing my personal grief, I found that I needed to begin my story (for months and years) with only details, a timeline narrative of what happened, when, where, who, what, and why. This felt like an “anchor” to me, to hold on to facts. Once those facts became less important over time, I could dig into my feelings a little more, and retell the story with that lens, going deeper into the layers of what I experienced, and what I need now.
Tomorrow (January 5th) at 2pm ET join us. This is a free and open group for people to join together, to check in with familiar faces, and to discuss this topic of “sharing your story.” If you would like to share your story, please begin with sharing for only 5 minutes. The 5-minute limit is really to help you practice what you need to share, and also to allow others time to speak. This session will be 1.5 hours long.
Please go this page below to find the link to join the Zoom Meeting.