This past week I had the good fortune to spend several days with eleven amazing people. Our journey together had a common goal; to become Certified Grief Recovery Specialists® – Mission accomplished! Prior to the certification we were complete strangers. However, now I consider these people my colleagues, confidantes and yes, friends. We were educated and guided by an amazing lady named Lois Hall. Lois is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist® and Trainer through the Grief Recovery Institute in San Diego, California.
The Grief Recovery Method® is the most comprehensive Grief Recovery education and certification you will find. I became certified to not only help others, but because I was devastated by personal loss. Having gone through grief, I know how hard it can be and want to help others who are also grieving. The Grief Recovery Certification Training gave me the tools I need to effectively help grievers recover from loss. It also gave me an opportunity for personal healing.
During my judicial journey, I experienced many losses. I was hurting, but never really fully gave myself permission to grieve my failure. “Why should I be sad?” I would tell myself. “I am the one who screwed up royally.” “It’s the people I impacted that deserve to be sad, mad, and hurt by what I did, not me.” I used to think this way until a friend of mine, who is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, mailed me a copy of the Grief Recovery Handbook while I was incarcerated. I remember reading the first sentence out of the book: “If you are reading this book, there is a high probability that your heart is broken.” Those words resonated with me. For indeed my heart was broken by choices I made and I was experiencing a death. Not the death of a person, but the death of hopes, dreams and what I thought life would be. I devoured every page of the book. I was sold hook, line and sinker.
I started to do the exercises suggested in the book and began unlocking my grief. How ironic, unlocking my grief while I was locked up. I began to share what I was learning with my sisters behind bars. They too wanted the freedom to grieve. In a matter of weeks, we started a book club (discouraged by the Bureau of Prisons) thanks to my Grief Recovery Specialist® friend from back home. He mailed several copies of the Grief Recovery Handbook for my friends to have and every week for three months we met faithfully, shared our stories and gave each other permission to grieve. The word spread throughout the prison and then two more book clubs behind the wire were formed! What my friends and I learned is that grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss and society’s response to grief is not! You’ve heard the following: “Don’t feel bad,” She’s in a better place,” You’ll do better next time,” “It was only a pet” and the many other unhelpful statements we have heard or said ourselves.
We all experience significant loss. It is never too soon to heal your broken heart. Would you wait to get help if you broke your arm? Then why wait when your heart is broken? This is not just a theory, but also a method that has worked for millions of people continuously over the past 35 years. Please check out the web site: https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/ or send me an email at the address on the Marriage Behind Bars home page if you are interested in attending a Grief Recovery Method Support Group® in the Duluth, MN area.