Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bereavement Group?

I got a questionnaire from the hospice asking me questions about the care my parents got. But they only sent me one questionnaire. I had to double-answer the questions, and it got complicated. My feelings about hospice in general are complicated too. For my mom, there was really no other choice, and it should have come sooner. For my dad, there was probably no other choice, but I don't think I understood hospice as well as I could have. All I knew was that I couldn't drag my dad from one doctor to another anymore. I just couldn't keep it up. And it wasn't doing any good. For that to be possible, and for him not to have to go back to the hospital, which was his wish, we had to go with hospice. But some of the people who looked after him were very doctrinaire about hospice, extremists even. They wouldn't administer any antibiotics unless prodded. They wouldn't call the doctor, even when they suspected an ailment that might be cured. The person was dying anyway. I found this upsetting, and it certainly didn't escape my father, who was sensitive and sharp. It depressed him and made him feel as if we were all in a hurry for him to die.
Now they are asking me whether I want a bereavement group or to have some little trinket made up from scraps of my parent's belongings. I don't want any tchotchkes to remember them by. I remember them just fine, and always will. And I don't know if any bereavement group is going to hasten my recovery time or make things any better than they are. Plus, it occupies time I can ill afford, especially during fall semester. Am I in denial? I don't think so. If anyone has been in such a group and had it help them a lot, let me know. I tend to think that as a writer, I am very reflective about my feelings. I see a therapist also. So I don't think it is necessary.


Lou said...

The hospice service that I used for my parents also included bereavement counseling for one year. With my mother, I was grief-stricken. She was ready to die, communicated freely, and I hated losing her. With Dad, it was different. He was difficult to manage, and though I felt guilty about his death, it was a relief.

At first, I saw those pages of questions and suggestions as silly, beneath my intelligence. But my grief for my mother was so deep and uncontrollable, that sometimes I would sit quietly and read the words on those pages. And it would help.

I think that you confusion about hospice--whether it helped, what it was meant to do--is part of your grieving process. After a while, it will matter less.

Robbi said...

My father was much like your mom, as far as being so close to me, particularly for the past 5 years, when I took care of them. I was shocked at first, but in a sense, my mother's death, coming on top of that one, shook it out of me. I had to gird my loins, I guess, and be strong. Maybe it will hit me again another time.
It's not that I am trying to repress my feelings. Not at all. I couldn't get my mother's South African songs out of my head for nearly a month. She used to sing them constantly when I was little, and I went to YouTube and listened to versions of them. Though I have the 45 she used to play, I no longer have the technology to play it. I will keep it anyhow.
It will be the anniversary of my dad's birth at the end of the month. I want to commemorate it in some way, and perhaps that will spur some grieving in me, but right now, I don't feel the need to be in such a group.