Tonight I sat and listened. We enrolled in the program to help our ten year old express and understand his feelings of grief. Randy died on December 27th. I sought out the program for Michael’s benefit, and for his dad’s. This was the third time we walked through the cold parking lot up to the 8th floor.
Shortly after we assemble into the flavorless, bare conference room, the kids are divided into groups and go off with their group leaders to share in various activities such as writing poetry, drawing, painting, or creating music to help nurture self-awareness and their expression of emotions.
The kids are called by their group number. We give a quick, encouraging squeeze on the shoulder or a preferred peck on the cheek, and then the little ones shuffle out the door.
Kathy, the group leader, turns her attention to the remaining parents and talks whole group, addressing various strategies for parents to help their children cope with loss and process their emotions.
Next, the parents are divided. We are in group 3. The, “Trauma,” group. There are about 20 of us.
We assemble the chairs into a circle, and everyone is facing one another, there is a heaviness felt in the air. It is quiet. Some choose to clear their throats. You can hear feet shifting uncomfortably. Torsos lean back and into the support of chair rails. Knotted hands can be seen, occasionally fidgeting with a scarf, some laying limply in numb surrender upon a lap. There is a sense of knowing that fills the room. On the rare occasion that eyes meet, a fleeting, sympathetic smile is offered. We know why we are all here. We are kindred; members of a club none signed up for.
Tonight I sat and listened, just as I did the past three times. Silent. Listening as wounded warriors of sorrow recounted their stories. I can’t write the details shared by these wounded warriors because they are not mine, they are their stories to tell. Each week they do. Each week I sit and I listen. Maybe next week, I will tell our story.
Until then, I wait.
Now, in the silence of my house, I listen, and still, all I hear is the numbing dull sound of bleeding, broken hearts.