With the first deaths I experienced in my teen and early adulthood years, there were countless thoughts, feelings, and times that I was unprepared for in my grieving process. What was unsettling for me was how many times my grief intensified periodically for what I thought was no apparent reason. As a young adult, I sought a therapist to assist me with my grief. The therapist was a kind and caring individual who explored, listened, and educated me on grief and grieving. The therapist shared a statement with me that was transformative in my understanding of grief. It is a statement that I have and continue to share with those who are grieving. A statement you may have heard yourself, “The first year after the death of a loved one is a year of firsts, without.”
The therapist went on to list the first new year, first birthday, first anniversary, first holiday season, and so many other firsts I would face without my loved one. For many of us, we just went through our first holiday season without our loved one, and now we are in the heart of our first Maine winter without. The long, cold winter days turn into even longer winter nights. In the midst of this, February with Valentine’s Day will arrive. Whether or not we participated in Valentine’s Day in the past, we will be reminded of the love we have for those who were in our lives in very special ways and who are no longer physically present. Jamie Anderson shared, “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give—but cannot. All the unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and the hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” So many of the ways we express our love through actions end. Simple expressions like holding our loved one’s hand, giving and receiving hugs, doing tasks for them, buying lunch or a gift are no longer possible. We struggle with what to do with the love, yet our love for them may grow even stronger with appreciation for them having been a part of our lives. The love itself does not die. In our year of firsts and living without, may you be able to acknowledge the love you had and continue to have for your deceased loved one. May you find new ways of expressing your love in meaningful and profound ways that provide self-care and that honor those who have died. We all grieve in our individual ways. Sometimes, it helps to have someone to talk with. If you are struggling or have questions about your grief and grieving, the Northern Light Bereavement Coordinators are here to listen and be a resource for you.
Six Week Grief Support Group – Aroostook County
Have you lost a loved one? When someone we love dies, it can feel overwhelming. You may feel alone and that no one understands what you are going through. The truth is that many are walking a similar path. Consider coming to a place where you can talk, grieve, and move forward with people who are also grieving.
A Six Week Grief Support Group will be held for six consecutive Tuesdays, starting March 12th, and concluding on April 16th. They will be held at AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle from 6 to 7:30 pm. This group is free of charge and open to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, but registration is required, and participants are encouraged to attend all group sessions. This group will be limited to 12 participants, so please be sure to RSVP.
For more information and registration, please contact George McLaughlin at (207) 498-9039 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As your Bereavement Coordinator, I am available by phone for grief support. If you would like to arrange a time to talk or meet one-on-one, please e-mail your request to George McLaughlin at gmclaughlin@ northernlight.org or call me at 207-498-9039. I will get back to you as soon as I can. Our agency toll-free number is also available to you: 1-800-757-3326.