After Rachel Dohrenwend’s husband took his own life in 2017, the family was shocked. Rachel said he hadn’t given any warning signs. She and her daughter Natalie attended a Sad Isn’t Bad four-week session, and Rachel shared their story with us afterward.
How did you find out about Sad Isn’t Bad?
A counselor at my daughter’s school recommended Sad Isn’t Bad and we immediately signed up for classes.
What did you feel leading up to attending a session?
Upon arriving that first night, I felt scared and apprehensive about sharing my story with strangers but immediately the leaders approached me with loving, welcoming arms.
What was it like to attend a session?
The leaders just opened the floor up to anyone that wanted to share their story of sadness and loss. Everyone began sharing their stories, so many tears were shed. It was an incredibly powerful and emotional night. But what was the most powerful was learning I wasn’t alone.
The feelings I was experiencing were the same that everyone else had. The emotions their children were displaying were the same kinds my children were experiencing. We may have had different loss stories but our journey of grief and sadness were so similar.
My daughter stated that she got to meet a couple of girls who had also lost a parent and suddenly she realized that she wasn’t alone either. She had previously felt like she was the only child who had ever lost a parent, so meeting others was exactly what she needed.
What did you learn about yourself and how you personally deal with grief?
A significant moment of the night for myself was a feeling of being able to open up freely, share any emotion that I was feeling and NOT being judged! Losing someone is difficult but losing a loved one to suicide makes you feel extremely guilty and feeling that the entire world was judging me.
I had been storing up all my feelings and emotions inside and that night was the first night that I truly just felt comfortable enough to share my story and truly just be myself.
What’s your journey with grief been like since attending a session?
The wonderful thing about Sad Isn’t Bad is it doesn’t end after these initial four meetings. They offered a class called Sad Isn’t Bad: The Journey Continues. Grief doesn’t end after four weeks, so these classes are such a wonderful blessing. Sad Isn’t Bad truly worked miracles for our family!