Grief is a normal and natural reaction to the loss of someone or something special. It can be one of the toughest physical and emotional challenges that we experience. The experience of grieving can be devastating.
It is important at this time to reach out for support. Sometimes people don’t know where to turn for help during this time. Wings of Hope Hospice provides bereavement services to the families we serve and to the community.
The feelings that accompany the loss of a loved one sometimes do not occur immediately at the time of death, due to the feelings of shock and numbness. It may take months for the shock to lessen and to feel the full extent of the loss. These feelings may be difficult to experience but “stuffing” or avoiding these feelings will only postpone the healing process.
Each person’s grief is unique. It is alright not to say “I’m fine” when asked how you are. Sharing feelings and talking helps. There is no time table for the grieving process.
While family and friends are vital at this time, unless they have experienced a close personal loss, they may not fully “get it”. That is when a support group may become a valuable resource and option.
Supports groups are places individuals can go to discuss their experiences, share ideas, and provide emotional support for one another. You can share as much or as little as you are comfortable with. One of the biggest advantages of support groups is realizing you are not alone, that there are other people who have the same feelings.
When joining a support group, you may be uncomfortable at first discussing your loss with strangers. However, knowing that others have experienced something similar and are facing the same reactions may help you to open up and discuss your feelings.
Everyone’s story is important and needs to be shared. A support group is where you can share your story openly, in a safe place, free of judgment. You can share about the experience of coping day-to-day, as well as, about those difficult days of your grief journey.
One grief support group member shared that the day of her support group is the day she can cry and open up about her struggles because she knows others understand, which makes her feel safe.
There are tools that you will walk away with when attending support groups.
- The opportunity to begin the healing process through the sharing of your own story and hearing the stories of others.
- Support from others who have experienced a similar loss.
- Emotional support in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
- Coping skills to help you through your grief journey.
- The opportunity to discover new ideas to find your “new normal”.
- Permission to grieve.
- Knowledge that while grieving hurts, you will live on and it is ok to be happy again and to live a productive life once more.
For more information regarding the Grief Support Groups that Wings of Hope Hospice provide call Christie Gillett, Grief Support Coordinator at 269-686-8659.
Author: Christie Gillett, Grief Support Coordinator
Photo credit: Craig Gardiner Photography