Understanding loss and grief

Dolores Hutchinson Robu

When does grief start? When we first hear the diagnosis? When we first believe that it is a terminal disease? Or do we stay in some wave of denial until the patient says—“no more, I’ve had enough.”

What happens in the pit of our stomach or the middle of our heart when what we have known is spoken by our loved one? Be it a whisper or just a mouthed word, or a refusal to continue treatment that they and we know is making her/him feel sicker. Or perhaps it is when that first diagnosis comes and knowledge from earlier experience lets our loved one know that treatment is just a miserable prolonging to the inevitable and that it will rob you of the good hours, days or months that you have left to enjoy your time together.

Sometimes it happens in the blink of an eye, sometimes over a few years as we, the survivor, watch our loved one as the gleam in their eyes begins to fade and the quickness of their step slows. Sometimes we brush away those signs that we are not wanting to see even to the extent of seeking yet another magic treatment that will keep us here together forever. But the denial eventually slips away and the hard work of grief begins. Healing will occur when we have a safe place to share our stories.

The SaddleBrooke Bereavement Support Group is a free service provided by SaddleBrooke Health and Wellness. If you have experienced a loss or know someone who has, please come. This is a drop-in group and it is not necessary to register or feel and pressure to return. The group meets every Sunday from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Coyote Room on the lower level of the HOA One Clubhouse. Questions? Call Dolores Robu  at 825-8980.