Dealing With Own Grief

I suffered painfully as a boy. I was abused by every abuse a young boy can experience. My trouble was that I accepted abuse as normal home life. I had nothing to which I could compare my painful experiences with so that I would be able to recognize my abuse as abuse.

I am 77 now. It has only been the last 10 or 15 years that I have realized that it would help me to release my deepest pains in a systematic grief process. I suppose that grief process will continue as long as I live. Now I am grieving over the loss of my boyhood

When I was 15, my dad shot himself with my gun. At the time of the suicide I was away from my Coronado, Ca home. My older sister and I were in Tucson to attend my uncle’s wedding. After we heard the news we called the pastor of the Tucson Baptist Church. I was sitting at one end of the couch and my sister was on the other end. I was sobbing but my sister was sitting there quietly. The pastor looked at the two of us and said, “Judy is taking this better than George. That ended my crying.

Writing this is helping me do some of the grieving I did not get to do as a boy.

Back a few decades I told my therapist the story of my Dad’s suicide. When I finished She said “You told me about your father’s suicide with the same emotion you would use to tell me about last night’s ballgame.”

After I realized how my words and mood so often did not seem appropriate to the subject that I was expressing, I took some steps. A local church loaned me a key to their sanctuary. Over and over again, at 2 or 3 in the morning, I used the sanctuary to shout and scream out my pain and sense of betrayal. I focused on any horrible memory that came to mind. Instead of the church I would sometimes sit in my car at some isolated parking lot. Cars are sound proof to keep driving noise out. The same soundproofing also kept my screaming in.

I became active in a 12 Step program. In meetings I was given a sense that my case was not unusual at all. I also found many friends that were doing the same work I was doing.

I also used a grief professional. She was incredibly helpful.

There seems to be something in my psychological makeup that wouldn’t let my deep internal grief surface until I was prepared to deal with it. I was never overwhelmed.

The thing that made me more and more able to deal with my grief was the love, experience and commitment of the people in my program meetings.and my family They were ready 24/7 to help me if I needed it.


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