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 begin to fade and the quickness of their step slows. Sometimes we brush away those signs that we are not wanting to see what is happening, even to the extent of seeking, yet another magic treatment that will keep US here together forever. When our last hope disappears, and our loved one dies, the shock and denial returns, in a different way.

The shock often lets us get through those first days and enables us to function unbelievably well, tending to the business at hand. But that denial eventually slips away, and the hard work of grief begins. Then the questions begin: The fear of crying, thinking that, if I start, I’ll never be able to stop. If I cry, it means that I’m weak. No one understands how I feel or what has happened to my world. I can’t handle all the memories, and no one wants to hear these stories again. Healing will occur when we have a safe place to share our stories, with others who are walking a similar path.

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 any pressure to return. The group is facilitated by professionals who give their time to this special service. The group meets every Sunday from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Coyote Room on the lower level of the HOA One clubhouse. For questions, call Dolores Robu at (520) 825-8980.

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