This week I took a two day training called Griefbusters. It is a program through Hospice that pairs an adult (the Griefbuster) with a child who has lost someone. The Griefbuster meets with the child one a week for about an hour and helps the child work through their loss. (They did train us not to use "lost" or "passed away" or other euphemisms with children, but I know that you know what I'm talking about.)
About 7 years ago I took a grief workshop through Hospice to work through the death of my mom. It was so helpful for me to be able to have a place to go to talk about her, and to know that what I was going through was normal and that others were going through the same things. During that workshop, one of the participants was a woman I knew, but just as the wife of one of Mike's friends. Her 3 year-old son had died. During the workshop we formed a friendship, and since our youngest girls are the same age, we've kept the friendship going.
Well, when I arrived Wednesday morning, I was surprised to see that she was there too. We kind of laughed that here we were doing the grief-thing together again.
Anyway, when I told people I was going to this training, the responses were mostly negative. WHY would I want to do THAT? It would be so hard to see a sad child. It would be depressing. That was what I heard from others. But because the grief workshop I attended was so helpful to me, I want to pass that forward and who is more deserving than a child?
I'm excited to be a Griefbuster, but at the same time I realize that a child has to suffer a tragedy for me to do what I'm trained to do. That's kind of weird. But tragedies are going to happen regardless, so it's good that there is this program to help.
As a side note, the training was held at the county's senior center, so for lunch my friend and I lined up with the seniors in the cafeteria to eat. We'll both be 47 this year, and we joked how it was a milestone for us -- we had our first senior meal!
I liked what one of the guest speakers said during the training, "Grief is not something you fix, it is something that you accompany." And his other piece of advice was, "Stay close and do nothing." Which means we're not there to fix the child, or offer advice, we're there to support them, to listen, to witness their memories.
I can do that.