My experience with The Grief Recovery Method, founded in the mid-1980’s by John W. James.
After being cut off by the clergy from the man I love, I couldn’t cope with the pain. Every day I felt that a part of me inside had died. I couldn’t reconcile the fact that I had to be without him for the rest of my life. So much had not been said, so much had not been completed. I was not even allowed to have closure, and that devastated me for the last 16 years. I went through one form of therapy to another for many years without being able to heal this wound that I was bearing. The sad thing about therapists is that most of them are trying to help you fix your brain. My brain was fine; it was my heart that was broken.
It is not that the therapies I went through had no positive effect on me since after the first treatment which lasted three years at least allowed me to say his name without crying. I was still not able to talk about the situation without bursting into tears. And I couldn’t help but talk about it to just anybody; it was like as if there was no end to this deep ocean of pain in my heart and the world wasn’t big enough to hold what was inside of me.
From time to time, I felt that I was making a fool of myself by not remaining silent on the subject as the man of my dreams seemed to be able to do so. I admired him, and at the same time, I couldn’t understand how he could keep it all in. As for me, I couldn’t bare the injustice of being pushed away with no right to plea my case. I went through life like a lost soul that had no idea of how to handle the nightmare I was living in for so long. The only thing I could do to help myself was to attend different therapies, year after year hoping that one day, one of them would have the answer.
Just a year ago, on my way to my therapist, I stopped by my Grief Recovery Specialist – Jeannette Mallet. Jeannette is highly experienced on the subject of loss, not only in her life but also from helping others for many years. With her usual kindness and empathy, she suggested to me a book called The Grief Recovery Handbook. I wasn’t interested in going through another therapy on top of the one I was already involved in, but when she told me that it was not therapy. She explained that it was a program which would give me a tool box that I would be able to use for the rest of my life – she got me curious. I accepted the invitation to go to the group sessions she was hosting the following week.
I went to only two sessions due to my illness (fibromyalgia) — I couldn’t take in all the other people’s stories and pain. Being a very empathetic person, I found myself exhausted after every session. But still, I was very interested in the program and what the book had to say. Already these two meetings had brought me some insight and relief. So I decided to continue this program one on one with my therapist who, call it Divine Providence, just happened to be certified to teach it.
During those ten weeks, I understood that to be in a state of grief is not only when someone dies, but you can also go through all kinds of losses. For me, my loss was the relationship with the man I love – essentially I was grieving a living person. To grieve for a loved one that passed is bad enough, being there myself with my first husband who died of AIDS. But grieving a loved one who is still alive, I found it terribly difficult, by the fact that there will always be a tantalizing hope as long as he lives. Just not hearing the sound of his voice was a terrible loss for me. The loss of my reputation, my character, and my dignity were also a big part of my grief.
Once I understood that even if the person or a situation that causes your grief cannot give you closure, you have the power of giving it to yourself. That was a big wake up for me – the answer I needed – I had the ability to complete my grief of the separation and complete what wasn’t said between the love of my life and me. I was also able to conclude my grief about what the clergy and some parishioners had done to me by taking away my dignity, destroying my reputation and character. I understood that the pain I was feeling was valid even if others ignored it.
Now, 16 years later, I can cope day by day with peace. I don’t say that I am over the man I love, but I can say that I do not carry this heavy anchor of pain that was chained to my heart all those years. I don’t say that I don’t miss him anymore, I do, and it is valid. I will always miss him, and I will always love him, but the difference now is that I can love him without the pain. The wounds are healed, leaving only a scar to remember my victory. As for all the negative emotions that come with the pain, they have left, leaving all the space in my heart for the love to dwell as pure as it can be. Now, I am not affected anymore by what the church and some of its members did or still does to me. By completing my grief, I found peace and I hold a double victory – Love is still there, and pain is no more. By allowing to free myself, I won! And my reward is to know that even if they tried to take away so much from me, God gave me even more!
That is what I learned and what I gained from this program. This book was the beginning of a new journey for me. It did a lot of good for me, and I believe that it can do a lot of good to those who are going through any kind of grief. So I would highly recommend to you The Grief Recovery Hand Book: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce and Other Losses by John W. James and Russel Freidman.
These two men wrote this book after they experienced loss. They now give seminars and can help thousands of people who grieve. The Grief Recovery Institute have increased their staff to offer a service that can reach on from one end to the other of the United States and Canada. They also have partners in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Mexico.
Here in New-Brunswick Canada, we are blessed to have as one of their staff – a wonderful woman to whom I am so indebted for introducing to me this Grief Recovery Method. Because of her caring heart and expertise, I was able to start the process of healing and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so much, Jeannette!
You can visit the Grief Recovery website by clicking the link below. If you wish to buy the book it is available on this same website or via Amazon.com – just click on the book below.
Written by Louise Ouellet Jan 31, 2015