I recently discovered that our local hospice offers a "Loss of a Child" grief group. This past Monday I went for the first time. I was looking forward to it. Twisted,uh? The meeting was held in the evening after regular business hours. When I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a few older people. I thought "maybe there is another group or meeting tonight too.". When I got inside, I didn't see any young couples, it was just older couples. I asked one of the men if this was the Loss of an Infant group. He said it was the Loss of a Child, for any parents.
Right away I recognized the parents of an high school classmate who died in an accident in March. I said hello to them, the mother said that she was glad I spoke to them, to remember their son T. There was another couple there, I think I recognized her as my 9th English teacher. She transferred to a different high school after my freshman year, so I haven't seen her since the early 1990's. I didn't talk with her directly, I'm not sure if she recognized me either.
There were 5 couples, me and the group leader. (My husband stayed at home with Ethan.). We went around the room, everyone sharing a brief history of their child. They all lost adult children, 20 - 35 year olds. I felt alone as the only one with a stillbirth. They all shared stories of their children, I don't have any to share. When it was my turn to share my loss, I cried. I've been feeling OK lately, so I was surprised to be crying like that. Maybe it was because I haven't shared my story with many strangers lately, maybe it was just being back at a grief group after a 2 year break.
We watched a video based on the book "Tear Soup". It was about grieving in general, not just the loss of a child. I think it made us feel better about the grieving process, that we will each do it differently, different lengths of time.
I'm not sure if I want to go back next month. These people are old enough to be my parents, or at least my aunt & uncle. They have experienced a loss of a child, so we can relate there, but they all watched their children grow up - first dates, high school graduation, college, careers, for some - weddings and grandchildren. I've considered sending a note to T's mother, explaining why I wasn't comfortable with this group, but that she & I could get together to chat if she'd like.