Seventeen months ago, Greta, my mate of 25 years, passed away. I wasn’t technically a widower — Greta and I were not married — but the hurt and loss were like what widowed people experience.

A month later, one of my widowed friends recommended I attend a grief group session near my home. At that session, I quickly learned there were lots of people who were dealing with the same sadness I felt.

Attending that grief group session turned out to be the best thing I’ve done to move on with my life since her passing.

At the first session, there were six women and two men: me and a guy named Jim, age 72, who had been married for 47 years.

Jim had also joined a different grief group where he became friends with five other women. I was pleased when they invited me to become a member of their tightknit group. With them, I’ve enjoyed outings that include dinners, parties, and concerts.

Being with people who have also suffered a loss, or losses, can be very helpful toward the recapturing of one’s life. When one person in the group feels down, which happens for numerous reasons, the other members of the group show empathy, encouragement, and support.

There are times when grieving people isolate themselves inside their homes. They want and need “alone time.”

However, too much isolation is detrimental to one’s health. When that happens to one of our members, other members reach out to that person and encourage him or her to get out of the house and socialize with people who care about them.  

On March 9, our group of seven, plus 10 friends of our group members, went together to see Super Diamond, a Neil Diamond tribute band, at a nearby club. The 17 of us had an enjoyable evening.

Based on the audience’s enthusiasm, the favorite Neil Diamond songs were “Sweet Caroline” (of course), “I Am ... I Said,” and “Forever in Blue Jeans.”

Grief groups are not only places for support, but also places to make new friends. A common bond that makes grief groups so valuable is that each person has encountered a devastating loss (or losses).

The loss could be caused from the death of a spouse, a divorce, the loss of a pet, or even the loss of a job. In our group, the members understand each other and have empathy toward one another.

After the formal grief sessions have ended, often an individual from within a group steps up and puts effort into planning events to ensure the new friends get together often. These friendships may go on forever.

For example, Gina from our group — in her 40s, the youngest — put the Neil Diamond tribute event together, and Katie had a pre-party gathering at her home.

Unlike in senior dating, an age difference in grief groups is a non-issue. Our group has an age range of 40s to 80s.

This group has helped me immensely in getting on with my life after my loss in 2022. And I know the others in my group feel the same way.


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