The words of a Brenda Lee song echoed in my ears..."All alone am I, ever since your goodby...". That's how I felt after the funeral of our 33 year old daughter Lisa. It was probably a more difficult time than the week leading up to the funeral. Prior to the viewing and the service there were so many people around and things to keep me occupied. In the immediate days and weeks afterwards, there were things to do to settle affairs and to keep up with the normal things of life---laundry, dishes, bills to pay. But I did only what absolutely needed to be done. The feeling of being all alone was pretty overwhelming.
Even with my husband and older daughter there in our house, we were pretty much in our own shells. Too numb to really communicate with each other. Still reeling with too many emotions. Still feeling that this can't be happening to our family.
This feeling of being alone was compounded by those who stayed away. They were thinking that they'd give us space. They didn't know what to say or do. But the absence of those that we usually socialized with, worked with, went to church with and neighbored with made me feel even more isolated.
For me, I get energized by being with others. Having conversations, doing charity work, and eating out bring me great pleasure. So not only was I hurting immensely from the loss of our daughter, I felt like I was drifting through the days on my very own. And I was so very, very down. My husband is comfortable operating independently of others and our older daughter is somewhere in between---wanting people around for comfort and support or spending time with her own thoughts.
Within 6 weeks, Steve, our older daughter and I went to see a counselor as a group. We spent the first few sessions talking about how we were reacting to the death. Next, we spent several sessions talking about how we were going to move forward as a family of 3 instead of a family of 4. We talked about how we were going to get through the Christmas holiday. We talked about what changes we would make and what norms we would keep. After those early sessions, we were beginning the healing process. It helped to have a person listening and reflecting on what we were saying. The counselor seemed to be able to read us very well and to not favor one personality over another. It was one of the best things that we did for our grieving process.