Sketching Project: Joe
Nearly a year ago, I joined Neutral Ground, a peer support group for people who are divorced, widowed, or ending a significant relationship. A non-profit organization, Neutral Ground has no religious affiliation and is open only to adults.
Actually, that’s not true.
A year ago, I Googled “Need Help During Divorce.”
It took me nearly 6 months before I got up enough courage to attend my first meeting.
That Thursday night, I sat in my car in the parking lot for over a half hour, bawling my eyes out, grieving too many things at once.
I’d lost the person I thought was my best friend, the person who’d promised to love, honor and respect me for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
From the outside, it must have seemed like I had it all: a beautiful home in an affluent suburb; new cars to drive; a country club membership. We took regular vacations and owned a second home in Florida. I had fancy friends who threw fancy parties.
I was desperately lonely.
No one is going to understand why I left, I thought. These people are going to think I’m nuts.
But the thing is, they didn’t. The people at Neutral Ground made me feel welcome. Despite the fact that we’re all going through the same thing, we all process things very differently. Where one person is angry, another is sad. One woman misses the dog; another misses the snowblower. We listen to each other’s stories and monitor each other’s progress from week to week. We attend social events with each other and encourage each other to keep going. Every few months, there’s a communal dinner and everyone brings a dish to share.
Not too long ago, I actually got to a meeting a little early.
(This doesn’t happen very regularly.)
Anyway, this guy was there.
And I just so happened to have my backpack with all my art supplies inside.
He was kind enough to let me paint his likeness.
And he was extra kind to let me post it here.
If you’re going through a difficult time in your life, I urge you to seek community. Everyone needs a place where they feel understood. Neutral Ground has been that place for me. We are not alone. We are never alone.
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