Get a Grief Buddy
Many grief books and articles say it’s important to tell your story. Indeed, telling your story is a forward step on the healing path. And one way to improve the odds of that happening: Get a grief buddy.
Grieving people need to tell our stories so we can come to terms with reality. When we can tell our stories without sobbing, we are making progress.
What are the benefits of telling our stories?
According to the Grief Recovery Center website, telling our stories helps us to become familiar with the stages of grief, find support, and feel less alone. Every griever has a story and “it’s one of the most important parts of the bereavement process.”
Tell Your Grief Story
Telling our grief stories helps us face facts, find things in common, and cope with feelings like guilt and self-blame. Over time, telling our stories helps us develop resilience. Each grief experience makes our stories more meaningful.
My husband died on November 28, 2020. We had been married for 63 years and I was his caregiver for seven of them. After my husband died I did well because I didn’t have to accomplish a myriad of caregiving tasks. I didn’t have to rush every minute of the day, worry about him while I was shopping for groceries, or cope with sleep deprivation.
Aloneness Can Be Intense
But life changed about eight months later. In some ways, it was as if my husband died again. I had to accept the fact that he was gone forever. There was no one to chat, no one to ask for advice, no one to hug and kiss. Other family members and friends had died, and this intensified my feeling of aloneness.
“Coping with Grief and Loss,” an article by Melinda Smith, MA, Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, PhD, asks grievers to seek face-to-face support from people who care about you. This led to the idea of getting a grief buddy. The more I thought about the idea, the more it made sense.
How would the buddy system work? The only way to find out was to test it. I asked a recent widow who lived in my apartment building to be my grief buddy. Her husband died several months ago, and her grief was still raw.
Buddy System Guidelines
We met for an hour on a Sunday morning and quickly became involved in a serious discussion. At our second meeting we discussed buddy system guidelines:
- We would meet weekly.
- Our meeting would last one hour. (We could always talk longer if we felt we needed to.)
- Confidentiality was paramount. We would trust each other with information and our deepest emotions.
- Laughter was welcome and something to share.
- Each of us would keep a log: date, topics discussed, and future topics to discuss.
Though we’ve only met twice, my buddy and I have already found we many issues and ideas in common. We’re looking forward to future meetings. Are you mired in grief? Getting a grief buddy may be just the solution you need. One buddy can lead you out of the darkness into the sunshine.
Read more by Harriet Hodgson: Memories Can Help Us Heal Our Grief – Open to Hope
Learn more about Harriet Hodgson’s books on her website: Harriet Hodgson