I don’t know if I’ve mentioned here that I took the next step in my hospice training. I did bereavement training a few months ago–sort of my current “major” in hospice work. My brain and heart continue to expand.
I still love my hospice work. I just felt called to explore the next steps–what comes when a client’s journey is done, and the survivors are left to pick up the pieces of their lives. My supervisor Lorraine says, bereavement support kicks in “when the casseroles stop coming.”
I’ve joined a drop-in bereavement group at local hospice facility as a volunteer assistant facilitator. This group of people have been through so much pain and distress. They soldier on, sharing their grief with others who are on the same journey. I am humbled in their presence.
Last week I was asked if I’d be interested in facilitating a grief journaling support group. I could almost feel my heart leap as I exclaimed, “Oh, YES, I’d LOVE to do that!”
And of course, within ten minutes, I was paralyzed by the responsibility. I…can’t…..do…..this!!!!
I’m implementing my standard strategy of trying to ignore my absolutely bonkers left brain (committee/critic/commentator) and begging my right brain (faith/hope/intuition) to step in.
So today I’m sending frantic emails to my poor bereavement supervisor, who is trying to be on vacation this week. I start each missive with an apology and a note to just let it sit in her in-box until she gets back, followed by a list of ideas, thoughts, questions.
And of course, I worry that she’s already regretting asking me to do this.
I’m researching grief journaling, sending away for books on poetry-writing.
And as always, I’m trying to remember my friend Quinn McDonald’s advice. When I’m frantic, I take a minute to see where that’s coming from. Hmmmmm….the fear this experiment won’t be perfect. Which makes it….about me. And this work is definitely not about me.
I am astonished how tied up this all is with my artwork. The themes of healing and connection, of what it means to be human, of what binds us together and sets us apart… All currently a big ball of soft, tangled yarn in lovely, shimmery colors.
And as my little diamond dove Malchik wings his way around my studio and lands on my shoulder, curious to see what the frantic clicking noise is I make with my fingers on my keyboard, I think of that haunting poem by Rumi:
The way of love is not
a subtle argument.
The door there
Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
they’re given wings.
— Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi
The workshop runs in February, once a week for a month. Wish me luck. Send me your thoughts & suggestions, too.