The men and women took turns introducing themselves around the L-shaped table as they waited for their lunch orders to arrive. Some had been coming to Carroll Hospice’s bereavement luncheons for years, while, for a few, this was the first time they’d attended.
But all who came to share a meal were looking for solace, a place they could share their grief and memories, their troubles and fears, with those who could understand and empathize because they too had experienced the death of someone close.
One by one, they shared who they had lost, how long it had been and what they had come to understand during the grieving process. “We all [grieve] differently,” explained one participant, whose husband died four years ago. “People who think we should be beyond this haven’t walked in our shoes.”
One participant shared how a trip to the beach—a place both he and his wife loved—brought up so many unexpected feelings. “Grief hits you sometimes when you least expect it,” he said. Another remembered how her husband was able to fix anything around the house. Now, she’s troubled at the thought of someone coming into her house to do those things. “This is a group I never wanted to be a part of,” she admitted.
The luncheon, facilitated by a Carroll Hospice bereavement counselor, takes place the last Tuesday of each month at Baugher’s Restaurant. Rosalie Faulk came to the luncheon for the first time to talk about the loss of John, her husband of nearly 47 years, in May. “At first, you don’t know what’s normal,” she explained. “You’re in a state of shock. Then reality hits.”
Faulk learned of the luncheon through Carroll Hospice’s widows support group, and attending both the support group and the luncheon has been helpful to her. “The meetings give us some hope and encouragement of what we’re going through,” she said.
For some attendees, volunteering, new hobbies and keeping busy all helped with their grief. But those things never completely fill the void.
“The outward mourning goes away,” confided a group participant to the others. “But the grief never does.”