Peggy and Michael

Peggy and Michael

On August 5, 2015, the unthinkable happened.  I lost my husband, Michael, to cancer–after 29 years of marriage.  We were a strong couple.  We had fun together and fully enjoyed our lives together. Was it a sudden shock?  No, we had 3 years together after his diagnosis.  So it wasn’t sudden, but it was a shock none the less.  I don’t know if you can actually prepare yourself…

 

Without the companionship of Jennifer McBride and HeartLight, I don’t know how I would have muddled through the 9 months since that day.  On the advise of Denver Hospice, I began attending Wednesday night widow groups, twice a month, soon after he died.  Oh, the pain of sharing my story was so difficult.  But Jennifer knew it was what was needed, for all of us.  After attending a few meetings, I signed up for “Facing the Mourning”.  There were just over 10 of us in the class–each person bringing their unique grief each week.  As we shared, we formed a bond.  We were safe.  We could say what we needed to say and knew it was protected.  I will have several lifelong friends who came from that group.  And that in itself is invaluable.  The class, like the Wednesday night groups, was painful.  We expressed our grief in many ways, “confronting it, head-on”.  One particularly difficult task we performed was to write a letter to someone, the lost person or someone associated in some way.  We shared those letters with the group.   It was a heavy night, but I know I left feeling somewhat lighter.  As was the case for each night we met.  All with the gentle nudge toward helping us each face our loss.

In addition to the meetings, I have attended a Remembrance Ceremony and gotten advise on counseling and books to read.

I absolutely know that I would be in a different space now without their guidance.  It has been nine months.  It continues to be very painful.  I continue to return to Wednesday night sessions when I feel low.  Being with others who are dealing with such a high level of grief and people who “get-it”, is priceless.  And Jennifer McBride and all those associated with HeartLife have made that possible.

Thank you to Jennifer and all the HeartLight people who have dedicated themselves to this difficult task.

Peggy

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