Journeys with Grief
CHRIS (Support Group Facilitator) : Grief is a very personal and also a very individual experience. There is not a quick fix, but I believe, (grief is) a journey that at some time we have to work through. People will do this in many different ways, and unfortunately no one thing will work for everyone.
The Support Group was set up to try to make sense of the massive questions of why bad, sad and also unfair things happen. By talking, and just as importantly listening, the group helps us to understand and find the tools to make going through grief a possibility, and indeed reality.
To hear people’s stories helps you understand also that you are not alone in your thoughts and sadness, but the sensible and practical ways that have helped others can also help you. I personally feel that while there is no one simple answer to how to stop the pain of loss, to talk to others who are dealing with and progressing through grief is incredibly positive and can only help. People might go to a meeting only once or as many times as they feel it is useful, again it is totally up to them. Although we're sharing about our grief, the group is uplifting and will give you a greater understanding of a subject which will touch us all.
KERSTIN : After my Mum has passed I felt quite lost and lonely. Living in another country than my birth country makes it hard at times
and not being able to grief with my immediate family over there was such a harsh and unexpected experience. Something
fundamental had changed and because of the pandemic I was not able to feel into that with my immediate family in Germany..
Having found the GRIEF Centre during that time was a pure blessing. The weekly gatherings gave me a place to be,
a place to connect and breath. The people I found have suprised me on so many different levels and the connections that
were established grew from week to week. I found stability and hope and am now able to move ahead with new knowings
in my heart. There have been tears but there has also been lots of laughter. The open door each week is pure gold to me."
JIM : My wife passed away in November 2015 after a long illness after years of pain and suffering. After her death I was completely lost…I have never felt, nor imagined, I was capable of feeling so much despair. At the suggestion of the counsellor I decided to attend a group session at the Grief Centre. I have always held the belief that group therapy is something for people who are unable to accept that life is, well life.
After my first meeting I left and sat in my car and I just felt so strange; less tense, serene almost…not the feeling of isolation that I had been feeling…I had the realisation that grief, whilst potentially all consuming, is such a complex thing involving so many different emotions, emotions that others feel and you may not and vice versa and that is perfectly normal. We each have our own journey but being able to share that journey is invaluable.
I had a feeling…that grieving is a painful…but necessary process…not an end (but) the beginning of a new stage in your life and given time and support you can get through it.
I didn’t go straight home after the first meeting, not because I didn’t want to go home to an empty house, as in the past, but because I was content to stay out, I was seeing my world a little differently … the life I had shared with my wife…it certainly hasn’t all been in vain, it isn’t pointless after all. There’s a long way to go on my journey but now I feel I have a direction to go in.
MARY : I was 7. My life was bright and colourful. Then on the 3rd Oct, my beautiful 21-year-old brother died after a four day illness. My life lost its colour. My other brother and I were sent away for a few days and when we returned all traces of Nick had been removed and we were forbidden to mention his name. My mother was inconsolable and while she mourned for him physically and mentally until she died at age 94, she never spoke of him to me again.
All aspects of my life from that point on were touched by the blackness of grief – school, sport, marriage, children, relationships, aspirations, thoughts, life. I wanted to cry but no tears came. I wanted to live, but every day was consumed by the fear that something might happen to me or mine.
By chance I enrolled in a course Christine was facilitating at Tuart College and she offered to show the class the Grief Centre. I walked into that room and without a word even being spoken I was overcome with emotion. After much inner turmoil I decided to attend my first group on grief.
Many weeks later and with the support of my wonderful friends at the Grief Centre, colour is coming back into my life. I have forgiven myself for Nick’s death. For 57 years my mantra was “I wish I had died instead of Nick.”
I now talk about Nick, I remember fun times with Nick and most importantly the Grief Centre has allowed me to, for the first time in my life, grieve openly amongst others there who have become my friends, who understand and accept me without judgement or expectation. I realize now, while I am deeply sad that Nick is not here, I am and I want to live life more fully.
My life has changed. I dare to be happy, I take more risks, I am kinder to myself and I have a more honest relationship with my family.
I still have a way to go, but thankfully I am not on my own.
"I would like to thank the Grief centre for all the support & love this group has shown my husband & I. Last year we lost my brother to Covid in South Africa and I was unable to attend his funeral. This was a very difficult time for me. Going to the weekly support groups have help me somehow get through it and still helps me. Thanks you so much". - Yvette
“I had a feeling… that grieving is a painful… but necessary process… not an end (but) the beginning of a new stage in your life and given time and support you can get through it.” – Jo
“I didn’t go straight home after the first meeting, not because I didn’t want to go home to an empty house, as in the past, but because I was content to stay out, I was seeing my world a little differently…”– Jim
“I felt comfortable expressing my feelings, looked forward to every session, only downside is I had to travel very far.” – Vivianne K
“Lean Into It has given me confidence to go out into the world knowing that I’m not the only one struggling. The staff gave me suggestions on how to deal with problems and it’s just an overall good place to be when in need.” – Emily P
Community Grief Gatherings
Over the past 3 years I have experienced some significant losses in life, and the most recent was the death of my brother in South Australia in 2021. I was unable to travel to be with him due to flight restrictions brought about by the COVID pandemic. Being in another state and not seeing him or attending his funeral left me with a feeling of unreality and unresolved grief. I continued day to day with a heavy heart and sadness. I have always been a person to work things out on my own, but I felt like going along to this group and giving it a try.
Attending the Community Grief Gathering was an enormously positive experience for me. Since attending the Grief Gathering, I have felt a very real shift in my thinking regarding my brother's passing. I feel a peace about it and less sadness.
I was very impressed at the professionalism and knowledge of The Grief Guides who offered this event. At every point, The Grief Guides were quietly looking out for people’s wellbeing and by the end of the time, we all knew it was a safe place of compassion that we could return to or offer to our loved ones and friends. I commend the staff on their dedication and knowledge as we all need this support at some time in our lives. Ali R
Regrowth – Grief and Resilience Training
As a recovery officer this has been an incredible workshop. Knowing and learning the tools through this workshop will be great moving forward and knowing that personal growth is vital to my role. AN
It is difficult to identify all of the feelings and thoughts that emerge after an event such as the Wooroloo fire, particularly when your house, sheds, machinery and property are demolished. Initially, personal survival of loved ones is the priority, and we are very grateful to the professional and volunteer emergency services for their efforts. I think in the first few weeks overwhelming sadness and numbness is a key emotion. Sadness at all of the heirlooms/items associated with family that have gone and feeling numb on every level of functioning- your head really is clouded, and clear thinking is quite impossible. At some point one has to make a decision to survive and move forward in a positive manner. The fire recovery processes are long and arduous, and it is only through activities such as the workshops provided by The Grief Centre of Western Australia that make that recovery possible. I found the workshop to be 'gentle and respectful'. It was interesting to have reinforcement that our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are quite normal and need to 'be embraced'. Importantly to be able to talk and share other people’s stories in a supportive environment was great. I found the workshop was very valuable and worthwhile". Maureen
Singing for Joy
I felt a definite shift after my 1st singing class. Ordinarily I’d go home and sit in front of the tellie or something, but I felt motivated and did some Ubering all afternoon instead. LL
I was surprised to find myself tearing up as we sang a particular song. I rarely show any emotion but suddenly I felt a deep sadness for getting ‘old’ but at the same time singing together with others seem to make it OK. Life is full of ups and downs and there is joy in singing no matter what’s going on. YR
Art with Heart
“What I liked (about Art With Heart: For Kids) was Making the pets because they were cute and when I’m scared or upset they help me” – Kasey C
“What I liked (about Art With Heart: For Kids) New friends. Invisible string, buzzing like a bee, paper planes.” – Cory K
“Cory’s mum died last year. This sort of grief counselling is great for him. It helps him express his feelings and make new friends.” – Peter K