Second Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m. in the Founders Wing Classroom.
Fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Founders Wing Classroom.
The uniqueness of an individual’s personality and perception in the loss of a loved one can often make it difficult to express his or her grief. A grief support group provides an opportunity to be with other individuals who are also dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.
Factors in Grief
- We live in a society that sometimes frowns on too much emotion or sends the message that a person’s grief is lasting too long.
- Friends and acquaintances can be uncomfortable and not know what to say or do. Their presence often fades away.
- Often, the grieving individual lives far away from supportive family members.
The Value of a Grief Support Group
By being with other individuals who are dealing with the loss of a loved one, a feeling of bonding can develop. They, too, know the experience of constant changes in feelings – tearfulness, numbness, poor concentration, fatigue, loneliness, fear, anger and the list goes on!
As participants listen to others share, they can begin asking themselves, “What am I hearing that will help me?” Research has shown people are often helped by the sharing with others.
In turn, as they, themselves, share, participants are able to reach out and offer support to others.
Group guidelines include:
- freedom to share personal feelings
- We are not here to fix problems, but rather to be present to each other.
- Feelings are neither right nor wrong – they just are!
- Demonstrating concern and caring for each other is an integral part of the group process.
These are open groups in that new people can join at any time. This allows greater diversity in participation. Participants may feel like sharing one week and not feel like it the next week!
Caregivers and patients alike may demonstrate grief reactions to the death, even if that death has not yet occurred. These are normal reactions.
Prior to death a caregiver and patient grieve together the loss of independence, the loss of cognition, the loss of hope, the loss of future dreams, the loss of stability and security, the loss of identity and countless other losses.
As the caregiver, you know death will occur. This is mentally and physically exhausting. The same is true of watching a loved one suffer, which is almost always part of a prolonged illness. Caring for the patient takes an emotional toll on the caregiver. Depending on your loved one’s illness, you may grieve for a year, five years, 10 years, or more. The slow decline of a loved one is a heavy burden.
Being a part of a grief support group can help you through this process.
Rev. Marci L. DeVier is the Grief Support Group facilitator, She is an Interfaith Minister with a background of working with many spiritual paths, different religious orientations, and people that are questioning their faith. She worked as a Hospice Chaplain at Community Hospices of America for 8 years and provided support for the patients, caregivers and their families. As Bereavement Coordinator she followed up with the families every month for a year after the patient died. She facilitated grief groups and coordinate patient and family visits. She organized and created yearly “Celebration of Life Memorial Services” for families and coworkers. Memorial Services were available for families that did not have spiritual support.