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Last night was Grief Session, Part Four.

Donna Davis the Bereavement Coordinator was back, and this turned out to be a not-so-good thing for the group and for her. She’s missed our last two (of three) sessions because of her husband’s health, and she actually brought him with her Monday night and parked him in her office while she attempted to counsel us. It was dismal – there was a palpable awkwardness hanging over as she flew through a multitude of hand-outs. Hand-outs that were embellished with random, silly stick-figure cartoons. Just struck me as strangely light-hearted and inappropriate for a grief hand-out. And she was distracted… her husband is dying – just looking at him confirms it – and she’s not emotionally equipped to handle the grief of 20-ish strangers when she’s dealing with her own impending loss.

And there was a tense moment between Sue and one of our other group members… it just knocked me off balance. Sue volunteered (which she has rarely done) that it’s harder for our family to eat together at Mama and Daddy’s house than anywhere else. Louise, one of the older ladies whose husband died, glared at her and said “Well, the difference is you’re a WE. I’m a ME.” To which Sue had no reply. It felt personal, although I know she probably didn’t mean it that way. Or maybe she did… when you’re angry, it can come shooting out at anyone. I pondered her comment for the rest of the session – we’re a “we.” Should we, as a “we,” even be coming to the Grief Series? But are we really a “we”? Yes, we have dinners together. Yes, we have each other. But our grief for Mama is very individual – we are six “me’s” in a unit. I felt a pang of anger at Louise for minimizing Sue’s feelings… But I know that Louise, like everyone who loses someone, is angry. And Sue happened to be in her line of sight Monday night.

I actually missed Betty Boop (as Tom calls her), the other facilitator lady… She tells horribly corny (but somehow still funny) jokes, and she sounded like a broken record during the sharing session – We celebrate John’s life with you. We celebrate Bob’s life with you. We celebrate Denise’s life with you. – until I wanted to throttle her, but I had gotten kinda attached to her. I hope she’s back next week for our final session.