The Step after 12

I’ve been doing grief work for ten years now, helping to facilitate peer support groups for children and their families.  We facilitators meet for a pre-group session before our families come.  The purpose of that is to talk about anything going on in our lives that might influence our ability to be present and focused on our grieving families.

Last week at pre-group, I said that I didn’t have anything to say because my life was wonderful.  Cee is healthy.  We’re loving our two new pug puppies.  We’re looking forward to exciting new adventures in our life and in the work we’re planning to do through this blog.  Life is wonderful, but I felt like I should apologize for being so happy and upbeat.  My good friend Mia told me that I shouldn’t apologize for having a wonderful life.  She said the world needs examples of people who have come through heavy duty life experiences and found happiness waiting at the end of the tunnel.

As I sat through the group session that followed, I thought about all the people who were stuck in their grief.  I’ve seen so many of them over the years, just telling the same old story over and over again.  No wonder they are stuck.

One of the biggest complaints from people dealing with loss is that everyone around them is telling them it’s time to move on.  I’m going to encourage them to keep telling their story, but do it by taking a slightly different path.   Shift it just a little bit away from the pain, to start remembering something good.  Something funny.  Something heartwarming.   Don’t make massive changes.  Just little changes.  Little tiny shifts in how you tell your story.  That’s your way out of the fog.  That’s your next step.

So that’s one of the exciting new things we are going to be working on.  The 13th and 14th and 15th steps.  And all the steps that come after that.  They are boundless in number and beauty.

Love, hugs and peace, my friends.



20 Replies to “The Step after 12”

  1. Wonderful post, Chris. I have made that shift this past year, and it does make such a huge difference in going forward with actual happiness in my heart. Happiness that I thought I’d never know again. Thanks for writing your posts.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Doesn’t it, though! And it doesn’t diminish good memories of people you love. I’m going to ask for your help. Give me feedback. It’s not the easiest thing to explain sometimes, so if you can chime in after a post and share your experiences, I would love it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Awesome! I look forward to reading more about the process. Grief work takes so many different forms, as does grief. But there is light at the other end of the tunnel. I stopped telling my story many years ago because I grew weary of grief’s burden. Life has become joyful and brilliant again and yes I still carry the scars of grief but they’re just a part of me now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said, JP. As with Angeline, I am hoping that as I write more next week you’ll chime in. We need more people to talk about coming out the other side and are now enjoying life. There is something fun and wonderful beyond grief.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this post, it comes at the perfect time since my husband just lost his mother. We are all sad and grieving I our own ways, I need constant reminders to just be patient and let him work through it in his own way. When you have had as many people pass away as we have in five years, the process starts to feel familiar, even though each time it is different. I don’t know what I’m trying to say, just keep sending those steps so we can sort through our feelings and get through these important steps.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a great reminder, Marilyn. Too often we’re expected to act in certain ways, or to “snap out of it” within a certain time frame. Or, even worse, to have our grief compared to someone else. No judgments, only compassion and caring.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, it bothers me when people say, “why doesn’t she move on?” Usually this comes from someone who has never had a major life loss yet. It is a fine balance. What I realize I actually need is just someone to acknowledge the pain. That is all, then it is easy for me to “move on” for that day. The grief always comes back, but over time, less and less.


  5. I like your friend’s advice. I’ve had plenty of issues and problems over the years and shouldn’t feel the need to apologize because things are going well. Or not going well and I’m not complaining over and over about it. That one drives me nuts too – HOW WOULD YOU KNOW YOU DON’T HAVE PROBLEMS. Yeah, I do, but I didn’t tell them to everyone else.

    Anyhow, your advice on small change is good too. My husband and I decided years ago to appreciate the things we did have and that has helped us a lot over the years.



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