Pokemon Go and Grief Therapy

Poor little angel
Poor little angel

Candidness is one of my attributes, for better or worse. Lately, we’ve suffered through one tragedy after another. The month of May brought a horrible experience with a dog bite on the face of my one-year-old granddaughter at her great-grandmother’s funeral.

We’re still working through those scars.

Christina Grimmie

June 11th brought the murder in our town of an aspiring musical artist, Christina Grimmie.

Before the shock was over, June 12th, this was followed by the horrific assault on a nightclub wherein forty-nine people lost their lives to a deranged killer, at a place called Pulse. A place my daughter and son-in-law had been fifteen minutes before the first shots were fired.

Forty-Nine Pulse Victims

Then a young child was snatched from his mother’s hand by a vicious alligator and killed.

Mom and Lane
Mom and Lane

July left us heartbroken when a young man who was staying with us RIP Gabrieland successfully turning his life around was involved in a dirt bike accident that took his life and all the joy he had brought into ours.

Times have been really tough. It’s been a lousy year. But there are good things on the horizon. Naked Alliances, my new crime novel, is on track to be published in late September. I’ll start working with my publicist soon for pre-marketing and the release. There are lots of folk helping in the background to make this happen and to you I am truly grateful.

After Gabriel passed away, I was inundated with grief. Not even able to get out of bed, I lay there and cried for two weeks, not accomplishing much of anything and wallowing in self-pity. Feeling like I was heading full thrust into a bipolar depressive episode, I needed a diversion.

Enter Pokemon Go.


Yes, a simple game, but one that gets you out of your house, into the sunshine, and around other people enjoying themselves and working together to have fun. I have met people of all ages and from all backgrounds while playing this game. It has brought me out of myself and helped me grow as a person. My Pokemon Go Florida FB group has been an inspiration. There are some wonderful folk in this state.

Yes, I’m still grieving, but I’m not isolating myself, and I’m not obsessing over the worst of things.

Sitting in city parks, I have had deep and meaningful conversations with young people, Gabriel’s age and younger, as well as many much more mature and wiser that I am.

I’ve seen some videos of angry people. I understand that people find it irreverent for folk to be gathered together playing games at certain memorials. I get that. I also get that most of these folk, me included, would have never known about these memorials in isolated places had it not been for the game. I have stumbled upon fabulous places I never knew existed.

It is very simple to write Niantic and have pokestops removed from such places as war memorials. It is NOT necessary to go out trying to pick a fight with young people, assaulting them, punching them in the face, and destroying their property. These young people are finally outside seeing their world, exploring their communities, instead of being closed off in a room somewhere doing much of nothing.

From what I have seen in the many places I have visited these past couple of weeks, players are respectful, taking their trash with them, quietly playing the game, focused on their phones. I’ve not seen any drinking or rowdy behaviors at ANY of the parks. People know not to trespass, and it’s not necessary. The app allows you to touch the screen to bring the pokemon to you rather than you going after it, but some people didn’t know that in the beginning. And new people taking up the game are still learning.

As with anything new, there have been some stupid people driving while playing, not staying aware of their surroundings, and some nasty folk taking advantage of people playing. That’s sad, but for the most part it is a happy thing and loads of fun.

I’m suffering from allergies and a severe head cold at the moment, else I’d be out playing today. Instead, I’m home checking my IV stats and culling my pokemon characters so I have the very best specimens to work with.  It’s something I can mindlessly occupy myself with, steering me away from the dark recesses of a troubled psyche.

Say what you will about the game and the “stupid” people out chasing pokemon, but for somebody who has never understood the allure of athletic sports, fantasy football, and the fortunes in taxes spent on places to play them, and one who has never been able to get into chasing little white balls across pastures with a club either, I’m quite content to enjoy my augmented reality game. For me, it has been a Godsend.

66 thoughts on “Pokemon Go and Grief Therapy

    1. It really has helped. The sunshine, meeting new people, sharing in something fun with others. It’s brought be around to appreciate the happiness in my life. Took daughter and older granddaughter to see Swan Lake ballet a few nights ago. We had a nice dinner out afterwards.

  1. PS: I started taking my daughter to various places to look for Pokemon while we were on the coast. It is a fun game. Nobody should have to defend themselves for playing it. It’s going to be a game changer. How long before we can have Pokemon wandering our websites too and driving traffic?

    1. Hahaha…your mind does travel, doesn’t it. It IS a fun game. And it’s harmless. There are a bunch of old foggies who can’t have young people out having fun. They aren’t out doing drugs or busting up places, they are walking around. What’s the harm?

      1. I tried it with her, and I’m going to keep the app. I’ve seen all kinds of masculinity shaming on Facebook, and those people need to get a life. I’m pretty secure in my masculinity, and I still write female leads on occasion. If I want to play a game, I’ll play the damned thing.

  2. So sorry for all your troubles, Susan. I hope things turn around for you and I’m glad you’re getting out. Escape comes in many forms – people don’t realize how simple it can be, and how necessary it is. Be well. *hugs*

    1. Thank you, Linda. I know I’m still going through the grief. Those thoughts of how painful to lose someone with such a bright future and so much to offer the world creep into my mind every day, but I’m not obsessing anymore. They are a bit more fleeting and tempered by thoughts of what a wonderful world we do have. I’ve dropped the politics and stayed off FB for the most part, except for my Pokemon Groups. Way too much negative energy in some online places.

  3. Whatever works, however it shows its self, what ever it takes you just have to find your own coping stratergy. Good work, many would have crumbled. You survive, you are resillient you should be proud of the strength you have shown. Good luck Sue. 😇

      1. Well I’ll be buggered… you really are doing good if you can actually make dinner 😉 you don’t need any encouragement at all 😘 . Take your pat on the back wipe your tears and find the next pokemon. Xx

  4. Praying for you and your family, Susan. Our office experienced a tragedy over the weekend when our coworker unexpectedly lost her only child, fifteen years old, to a septic infection.

    1. Ouch! Fifteen years and ripped from life so quickly. I know we aren’t guaranteed anything in this world, but some things just shouldn’t happen. Gabriel had been going to church with another friend every Sunday and that friend shared with us that Gabe had gotten Baptized only a week earlier. He never shared that with us. Guess God needed him home before he screwed anything up. So sorry for your coworker. I don’t think there is a pain in this world greater than losing a child. My own grandmothers were both devastated when it happened to them. I watched how they coped and learned…one well, one not so well. I knew I had to pull myself up and turn to something pleasant and bright or I was heading down a vortex of no return. I can’t afford to be hospitalized right now and every time I have gone on anti-depressants it just causes a manic flare up. This is all situational, not clinical. This, too, shall pass. Serenity is knowing that the good does not last forever, but neither does the bad.

  5. Sorry for all of your misfortunes and tragedies. I hope the rest of the year is much better. I’m baffled on the Pokemon Go hate too. Think overall tension is high in this country, maybe even around the world, so people are lashing out at anything that irks them.

    1. Weird as hell. In the midst of all the hate and drama, a game comes out that draws people together in a positive way, and yet there are haters. Some people just aren’t happy unless they are making other people miserable.

      1. That’s the crux of it. I know a lot of people who openly take joy from tearing down things that others love. It’s rather sociopathic (that the right term?) to purposely go after an enjoyable thing for the sole reason to hurt others. Don’t think this is what a lot of these people are doing though. Most are probably angry at the world and see this as an easy target.

        1. Yep. Remember the old “Keep off the Grass” signs…well my generation gave new meaning to those, now this game has renewed it in its own way. Grumpy old men.

  6. Listen, you will not hear me criticizing anyone who finds Pokemon Go a diversion. But have you heard of people walking into traffic and off cliffs looking for Pokemon? (Unverified, but heard in conversation at my beauty salon recently.) My grands are into the craze. Maybe I should join them.

    Susan, we love you. The weather is hot, you need a break from all the craziness – Take care! 🙂

    1. Yes, two foolish people when the game first came out put themselves in harms way and walked off a cliff. As with anything, you have to use common sense. You don’t drink and drive. You don’t text and drive. You don’t pick up a rattlesnake with your bare hands.You don’t play Pokemon without staying aware of your surroundings. It’s not rocket science. Join them. It will give you some knowledge about what they are talking about and what they find interesting about the game.It stimulates the imagination and helps you pass the time sharing an experience. 🙂

  7. My goodness. I didn’t know about all those things you went through, some yes, but the mom with the child killed by an alligator? I can’t even imagine. And your poor grandbaby! How….?? Goodness. I’m glad Pokemon is doing some good for you. Hang in there. :/

    1. The mom and alligator happened right after Pulse. The saddest thing about it, aside from losing an innocent child to an animal attack, was the hate the mother had directed at her for having the child up so late to watch fireworks, for allowing him to wade in the water at a Disney Park (From Nebraska, she wasn’t thinking wild gators at Disney). People said the cruelest things.

    1. I’m hoping things are slowing down. My old pug dog is looking at his last years. He’s been very ill and it’s become a severe financial burden to care for him. He’s still a happy doggie. Not ready to be put down…but I feel it coming. The media always sensationalizes the worst of anything. It’s a fun game and people need to get over their jealousy that others have found a way to have a good time…especially when it doesn’t affect them in the least.

  8. A big, heartfelt, virtual hug for you my dear. Though we are separated by miles, we are kindred spirits. My thoughts and prayers are, and always have been, with you and your loved ones.

    1. Thanks Connie. I feel the same way about you. I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a while…not as long as when my dad died, but there times when I just have to step aside. I’ll be back to reading and commenting again soon.

  9. When it rains, it pours. So sorry to hear about everything that’s been going on. I hope everything heals well for your granddaughter. How scary for everyone that must’ve been. I’m glad you’re finding some comfort in Pokemon Go. My oldest is into it. I downloaded the app myself, though I’ve only caught a few so far.

    1. LOL….my husband downloaded the app also. He just wanted to be able to learn enough about the game to be able to communicate with me, but we’re past that. I’m level 23 and he’s 8. We battle a gym together and I put in my 2030 Exeggutor and he puts in his 116 Pinsir. But at least we’re doing something together. 🙂

      I am starting to feel some relief from the grief. It sneaks up on me from time to time and likely always will. That’s how things work in my experience. I couldn’t count the number of people who have died in my arms over the course of my career, but losing a loved one or being close to such senseless slaughter…well that just hits home in a different sort of way.

        1. My son called today to say his wife is in labor. This will be my first born’s first born. We know it’s a boy. Praying all goes well with the delivery. All excited now. 🙂 ❤

  10. My heart goes out to you, Susan, for everything that’s happened. So much sadness. But there’s always light after the storm, and it’s good to see you chasing it. My best wishes to you and all your family. I’ll keep an eye out for N A’s release. x

    1. It will likely be the end of September. The publicist wants ARC copies sent out to reviewers/bloggers. There is no way to get those when you self publish except to publish and not announce it. Send out copies, then put up the ebook and merge them so you have the reviews out on the eversion when you announce the publication. I could go ahead and do a pre-order as soon as I get the cover up.

  11. I’m one of the head shakers when it comes to Pokemon Go. No, I’m not going to violently confront people who are playing it. I’m not going to criticize people for it. In fact, when I walk by people who are playing it, I typically make a positive comment about it and we share a smile. But I also wish that people didn’t need a game on their phone to get out and explore the world. That’s what makes me sad about it — not necessarily the game, but where we have got to as a society. That all said, your piece here makes a good point about the good a game like Pokemon Go can bring to somebody. Thank you for sharing it and, as you know, I have been saying my own form of prayer for you over the last few weeks and months. I saw in one of your comments that you’re about to become a grandmother again. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a turn-around for you and for your family. You are an incredibly good and kind person. Don’t let the darkness back in.

    1. The pokestops are often things like pretty colorful dog statues, and sculptures I never noticed before. Down at Lakefront Park in Kissimmee, there is a huge monument to the fifty states for the nations bicentennial. It has all fifty states in colorful clay casts that were formed and decorated by Native Americans and there is Indian lore written on each one by a tribe from that state. My Great Aunt Pete, Lyda Hadley, who started Cypress Cove was instrumental in getting it accomplished in 1976. It’s a pokestop and it was cool to see everybody gathered around it snapping pictures of it. Most had never seen it before. People come from all around the state just to play pokemon there because it has so many nests of rare pokemon. I’m trying to see the good in all of this.

      Yes! Yes! Yes! We are going to have another grandson 🙂 ❤

    1. Exactly. It came along at the just right time. I’m the granny to a group of FB game players and now I’m going to be a granny again to one of my own. 🙂

      The baby is healing well. Mama has done all that she can research to do to prevent or lessen scarring. It is minimal, a small line down her face and a little Y at the corner of her mouth. Can you believe the first thing she did when she came to my house was to run over and start antagonizing the doggies? She’s gonna be one of those who learns from the school of hard knocks, I’m afraid.

  12. Wow, Susan. I had no idea you were suffering with so many tragedies. I cried reading this post. I’m still drying my tears. You are such a sweet person, and if this game is helping you, I hope you never stop playing it. We all could use a little more fun in our life. That’s what this summer has been about for me, too. For once, I’m taking time to just have fun without feeling guilty about not working. I hope you feel better soon. Your Pokemon awaits! <– no idea if that's right, but it sounded good. LOL

    1. I’ve been sitting here all day nursing my head cold and culling my Pokemon to have the best specimen to battle with. I’m not writing cause my head’s just not into it. BUT good news!!! My firstborn just had his firstborn…a baby boy. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I cried happy tears.

  13. Although I have no desire to play, I would not criticize someone who does (unless they’re being obnoxious about it). I’m glad it is helping you get out and about and that it is helping you to feel a bit better. You have been through so much grief and stress recently. Wishing you good things now!

    1. The only thing I’ve seen can that be a bit obnoxious is when people get angry that someone steals their gym right after they won it. But it’s all in fun and they laugh it off and move on. I’ve never seen any serious hostility. It’s a fun game.

      1. I haven’t really noticed people playing, but my friend warned me that park in my town (the battlefield) was filled with people playing. She said they were mostly young men who were so oblivious that they walked into people and did not apologize. I only have her word for it. I’m sure most people are perfectly lovely. Good and bad with everything, right? 🙂

  14. Whatever works for you, Susan! I hope your granddaughter recovers well and doesn’t develop a fear of dogs from that experience. Poor, poor baby … it breaks my heart to look at her picture.

    Now I’ll say this once: grief is not self-pity and you probably needed to be in bed, feeling that grief for a while. How many punches are you supposed to roll with? It’s not like you never get back up, but sometimes you just need to stay down for awhile. Trust yourself. Now you are up and about and you’ve found something that is helping you to reconnect and to connect with new people. The fact that some of these people are young like Gabriel is wonderful … what a healing experience that must be. I don’t believe grief ever fully goes away; it just morphs into feelings more manageable, feelings you can incorporate into your life so you can get on with your life.

    I’m babbling.

    I haven’t played Pokemon Go and don’t plan to. It’s not my cup of tea, but so what? Of course, some people are acting badly … on both sides of the game. Some players are being stupid and rude and some nonplayers are being stupid and rude. But if you’re out there playing, then you know more about what is going on than the rest of us who are just surfing headlines for their info. I hope your allergies and cold clear up soon.

    You’re a beautiful person, Susan.

    1. Awww. Thank you Marie. I’m having fun with it and haven’t witnessed any untoward behaviors yet.. People are good about taking their trash with them and leave the parks nicer than when they came. I’m certain the media looks for the best worst to sensationalize. I do wish his mom had been able to go through with the memorial service. She’s put it off indefinitely d/t having panic attacks whenever she leaves the house. The AA group may have one here local for him. We need closure. Greg and I have been trying to get a venue. It’s crazy what people want to charge around here…even the churches.

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