My Journey of Grief – 4 years later….

Group grief counseling is still one of the best decisions that I ever made in my life.  I can’t say that I was always open to the idea, or even knew that the option was available.

I moved back to my home state from Texas after my father passed to “re-group.”  I spent the first two months in my sister’s basement in the dark with a pity party that no one was invited to.  My sister later suggested that I visit a local temporary employment agency until I decided what I wanted to do within the next ninety (90) days.

While at the agency I was asked why I was in the area by the agency specialist.  I gave her a brief overview, and she suggested group counseling because it blessed her when she was mourning the loss of her husband.  She stated how the services helped her family deal with the loss, and that the services were FREE.

You know I perked up because who doesn’t love free, and I had never heard of FREE counseling services by licensed professionals.

I was able to talk my sister into participating in this group counseling session, but we had to go through an orientation first.  We arrived at Gilda’s Club in Grand Rapids, MI with mixed emotions, because we didn’t know anyone that actually took advantage of counseling services that looked like her and I.  After orientation we promised to attend the first class for all the newbies.  We arrived the next day eager to meet others that would take this journey of grief along with us.

First day of counseling
Gilda’s Club
Grand Rapids, MI
May 2013

My sister and I looked around the room and noticed one thing.  We were alone.  Even though we were in a room full of people, there was no one that looked like us.  How could anyone not want to receive services that would impact their lives in such a way?

Maybe they didn’t know the services were available, or maybe not ready to talk about the journey.

When I began this project I wanted to provide a safe place to share our stories about the journey of grief through the “Photography Love Letters” series.  I know that every time a story is told that it brings awareness to the dark moments and triumphs that occur during this unfortunate path that we were chosen to take.

I know that everyone will not have the courage to share their stories, but my hope is that you find strength and peace in the stories that are shared.

Grief Counseling changed my life and presented the possibility to bring the Final 48 Project to you.  I know without a shadow of doubt, I wouldn’t be here without it.

XOXO,

RJ

 

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