by Janet Brown
This is a photo of me and my grandson, Jacob. His dad Joshua passed away when he was only 6 years old. Joshua was my only child. He was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer on October 12, 1998 and battled for two years. He died on October 4, 2000 at the age of 27. My world suddenly stopped.
Joshua will always be missing in the rest of our photos.
I think I knew I needed help with my grief process but I didn’t have any idea where to go. After eight long years of silent suffering and medications, my doctor suggested I go to Hospice Austin and talk with a therapist. I was eligible for six free sessions, since Joshua used their services when he was ill. After pouring out my broken heart in these sessions my therapist suggested I go to The Christi Center for additional help with my healing. I thought to myself, “What??!! I’m not well yet?” I just wanted to feel better. I wanted a magic pill to make all the pain go away.
I took her advice her advice and started attending the moms’ Monday group meetings. Going to my first meeting was the hardest and scariest decision I ever made. I remember years ago seeing Susan Cox on TV being interview about “For the Love of Christi “. I thought, “Oh how sad for those poor moms.” And years later, here I am.
With the love from The Christi Center I have come a long way in my grief journey. During my first few meetings I didn’t say anything. Just listened to the other moms tell their stories. There was no judgment or expectations. I learned I wasn’t alone in my grief. Wow! That was a revelation.
The most important thing I learned is that my grief is a life long journey. First minute by minute, then hour by hour, then day by day, then year by year. So I am evolving in my understanding of my grief and also trying to give hope to those new moms in grief.
Another way that has helped in my healing is to volunteer at The Christi Center. It lets me be a part of something bigger than myself. My stand out moment while volunteering was the fact that I wanted to volunteer. After experiencing what an awesome organization The Christi Center is and how many people they have helped, who wouldn’t want to volunteer? If I may quote a friend, Mary Graf, another volunteer: “We are all just small pieces of a beautiful mosaic.”
I think the best way to help a friend who is grieving is to first bring them to the Christi Center. I wish someone would have invited me years earlier than I went. Also be a good listener and don’t give advice on how they should be feeling. Be ready for your friend not to be themself. Just be there for them.