On June 30th I am retiring from The WARM Place. As I reflect back on my years of experience here I want to share a favorite poem of mine that seems to echo many of the sentiments we often talk about in our groups here at The WARM Place.
I seem to be falling apart.
My attention span can be measured in seconds,
my patience in minutes.
I cry at the drop of a hat.
I forget to sign the checks.
Half of everything in the house is misplaced.
Feelings of anxiety and restlessness
are my constant companion.
Rainy days seem extra dreary.
Sunny days seem an outrage.
Other people’s pain and frustration seem insignificant.
Laughing, happy people seem out of place in my world.
It has become routine to feel half crazy.
I am normal, I am told.
I am a newly grieving person.
This is where we start. Then we discover, as part of the group process, that we are not going crazy and that we are not alone in these feelings. It is natural to brace against these painful feelings of being alone, inept, sad, anxious, confused, and frustrated. I’m sure you can name more. But the good news is that working through these feelings of grief actually brings feelings of hope on the other side. It is the work that we do here—offering hope while confronting these difficult feelings in a safe atmosphere with safe people in safe surroundings. As I reflect on my experience at The WARM Place, I know that is the best thing we offer—a sense of hope that life will get better, that we will want to live again. I mean really live. Life will have meaning again. With hard work, self-compassion and patience, these feelings of grief can eventually transform into something different, even wonderful. That possibility of a new, different, vital life is our reason for coming to The WARM Place and entering into the process of our grief work. As I start my new life apart from The WARM Place, I wish you well. I wish you comfort and hope. My wish is that you decide to live again—really live.
-Kathy Telger, WARM Place Counselor