Thursday, January 30, 2014

Strange Brew

A variety of flyers and pamphlets intermixed our holiday mail after Aviana died. You just never knew what one simple key-turn to the right would result in for the day? It was a strange combination of -

Sorry Your Child Died - Top Ten Ways to Grieve 
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

One in particular really caught my eye though. It was from our Hospice department; an eight-week Bereavement course for parents who've recently lost a child. I sometimes tend to have a short attention span though, so I quickly looked it over, almost threw it away thinking we were okay, but then at the last minute - stashed it in a drawer for further contemplation. 

About a week or two later, the back of my mind knew the December 20th registration deadline was looming so I ran around trying to remember which drawer I buried the grievies papers (another bad habit I've been working on for...oh, about 12.5 years!) I finally unearthed them, gave 'em a once over, really thought it through for a day or so, and then talked to Dave. I told him I thought it might be a good, proactive so we don't get bit in the butt in the future. He agreed, and off we went. 

Our classes are once a week. Sadly we had to miss our second one because we were in Cabo. There are only five parents total, including the two of us. Dave is the only guy. It's okay though. It's nice to meet other parents - face to face. It's nice to talk, or not, about all of this. It's really nice to just sit and listen.

What's interesting about the class is...they take you there, whether you want to, or not. What I quickly realized is this - everything I've done thus far - in my own counseling, in conversations, and every word I've written on here, it's all in my own time and space.  In bereavement, it's more structured and with homework, which means it forces your mind and body to go places you might not have wanted. They pose the material and questions. To me, it's in your face reality. It's not as if what we went through isn't, but I know you understand what I'm saying. I didn't realize it would be like that. I guess I didn't have any comprehension of what it would be. Truthfully, ever since that car made contact with our family, every new step along the way has been uncharted territory.  No matter, after one class I'm happy with our decision. We are completely ready and up for wherever they want to take us.  

We have homework, which is due for tonight's class. I procrastinated because we were soaking up the sun and such, so now I have two weeks worth. I have to say, some of it is okay, but some...well, it hurts in the worst way  - but it also hurts so good. All the things I planned to put a post together about have a name with a face in bereavement class. That in itself is such a beautiful thing. The post I promised was to include some of the bad aspects of all this with Avi (some of which I have talked already talked about). Some of the ailments, and anxieties I developed - which thankfully have mostly subsided since she passed.

Okay, I've been out of school far too long. I just realized what time it is...I've gotta get on my homework. I'll be back ; )

Wish me luck!


  1. I'm so glad you found this and that it's theraputic. I'm also glad you went to Cabo! What a 180, Cabo/Group Grieving. I'm sure you needed BOTH!

    I love you.

  2. Just sending you hugs. Oh, and GOOD LUCK!!
    Cindy in nc

  3. Great for you guys. I know it might feel like it's doing more harm than good at certain times, but that's why the people that lead those classes do it. They know more than us about how we will react. They know that with each class they might "meet" a different side of the parent. And I'm beyond sure that whatever you say, do, or feel, it will be completely normal in their eyes :)

    1. I agree. It's so weird. The first class felt helpful. The second didn't really feel helpful at all. And last nights was the most difficult, but was really good. The way I see it, as with all therapy - if I get one, tiny thing I didn't have was worth it.

  4. For every step you take my heart goes with you. Loving you always!

  5. Hi Jen,

    I am an administrative employee of our (Roseville) fire department and have been following your story from pretty much day one. I got this email today from one of the charities that Roseville employees can choose to contribute, Zafia's house. I would describe them as the future Ronald McDonald house of Roseville. I was thinking, especially given your work with Aviana's elves, that this might be a good fit. I would checkout their website or give them a call. Their email and info is below. Katrina Rostam (

    Thank you for following up with Zafias Family House. Currently, our revenue is estimated at $97.000. We now have a local builder , John Caulfield, that has stepped to build the house. However, we are still searching for a one acre parcel to accommodate the 11,000 sq. ft. elevation and have adequate parking spaces. We are also in the process of partnering up with the Keaton Raphael Memorial located in Roseville. This organization
    was founded 15 years ago by Robin Raphael whose little boy (Keaton) passed away from cancer and their mission is to provide services to families that have children with cancer. Zafia’s Family House and Keaton Raphael Memorial board members unanimously agreed that it would be a great fit because we serve the same population which means that their families would be utilizing Zafia’s Family House. We are all very excited about this new venture. Both organizations will retain the name of their organizations to respect the legacy of Zafia and Keaton who both passed away from cancer.

    We are having an event at Bayside Church, Friday March 28th and it will feature America’s Got Talent David Garibaldi and a local band Fox Trot Mary which are fantastic. We hope to attract a large crowd, but need to get the word out.

    If you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Rebecca Fyfe, President
    Zafias Family House

    Robert (Bob) Fyfe-PMP
    Home/Office 916-941-0445
    Cell 916-212-5921

  6. ^ what Cameo said! Her & I think a lot alike, she's just more articulate. Your group seems like a safe place to share and learn. I'm happy you found it.

    1. Yep! A 180 alright. Cameo...oh wise one. Channe...oh wise one. Uh huh!