There is no written law that says you have to find a therapist or join a support group when you are grieving. I looked into grief and loss support after my friend Joy died but never went. When my former fiancé John died, I immediately signed up for a Survivors After Suicide support group. You have to do what works best for you and where you are on your own grief journey. At some point you may decide you want to find support. If so, there are different types. Some are more traditional; others more non-traditional.
Non-Traditional Grief Support
Non-traditional support is outside the “mainstream” of what we are normally used to seeking out when grief comes calling. Personally I embrace these options. I couldn’t have moved forward in my own grief without a combination of the Survivors After Suicide support group, the Grief Recovery Method® and Reiki. Each one provided value in its own way. These non-traditional approaches to grief and loss are worth exploring for your own journey. Non-traditional grief and loss support includes:
Grief Educational or Recovery Programs. There are some groups that offer a different approach to grief and loss through a structured program aimed at education and recovery. The Grief Recovery Method educational program, for example, uses a long-established format based on the principles and actions of The Grief Recovery Handbook. Their format offers a structured action plan to help grieving people discover and complete what was left emotionally unfinished as a result of any loss – not just the death of a loved one. It differs from traditional groups in several ways. It focused exclusively on recovery from grief, rather than primarily being a place to share feelings. Also, the program is presented over a period of weeks and is facilitated by Certified Grief Recovery Specialists.® I found the structure and action plan it provided to be very beneficial for my own grief journey.
The Dinner Party. In case you haven’t heard about them, The Dinner Party is a non-traditional grief support group which is popping up all over the country. What had begun as a casual gathering of friends became a quest to reimagine and reinvent “grief support,” and the very way we address about loss. The Dinner Party is community of mostly 20 and 30 somethings who have experienced significant loss (older attendees are also welcome). They get together over potluck dinners to talk about the ways in which grief and loss continue to affect their lives. They also talk about how to thrive after loss. Check their website for The Dinner Party location nearest you or sign up to start your own.
Death Cafés. A Death Cafe is a “social franchise” that began in London in 2011 and quickly grew across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It is estimated there have been over 3,155 Death Café events around the world. At a Death Café people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death, mourning and mortality. It is not a traditional support group because there is no agenda, objective or theme. Participants are encouraged to talk about topics associated with death since it has been such a taboo subject to do so. Some events are free; others charge a nominal fee to cover the cost of food and drink. Check their website for a Death Café near you or sign up to start your own.
Bottom line, any type of support you can receive while you are grieving is a wonderful gift. A non-traditional educational program helped me to move from grief to recovery. Even if you chose not to seek help at this time, know there are different types of grief and loss support available to you when (and if) you are ready.
Sending you love, comfort and peace!