Grieving is a very natural reaction to the loss of someone or something that is very special to us: perhaps the loss of a relationship, a home, a job, and most difficult of all, the loss of a loved one.
For such a common occurrence, our culture has not learned to handle the experiences of death and loss very well. In the past, conversations about death have been hushed and secretive, brushed off and hurried. Comments like “You’ll get over it.”, “Time heals all wounds.”, “Life goes on.”, “God never gives you more than you can handle.” are often heard by those meaning to offer comfort. Or even still, fear of saying the wrong thing sometimes results in friends and family saying nothing at all. Leaving an uncomfortable void.
Grieving is far more complicated than we realize. It affects us emotionally, mentally, and physically in ways we never expect, and it is different for each person and each experience. It is important to know that each of us has a choice about how we grieve. Does just “getting over it” really work? “Unaddressed” grief can fester and eat away at our health, resulting in long-lasting physical and emotional issues we may not ever associate with our loss or the grief process.
GriefShare at Aldersgate
GriefShare has been offered for over 15 years to our members and the surrounding community. This is a faith-oriented grief support group recognized nationally for the very positive benefits it brings to those who are experiencing the loss of a loved one, whether the loss is recent or several years in the past. This is a compassionate and caring atmosphere where participants can share their reactions to loss, explore their feelings in complete confidence, know they are not alone, and begin to heal. Each session provides an insightful DVD, a workbook keyed to the DVD as a guide, and the experienced guidance of co-leaders who know all too well from personal experience the challenges of confronting grief. These elements work together to initiate the healing process within the group.
GriefShare meets weekly on Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30PM for 13 consecutive weeks, with one session offered in the Fall (usually September through mid-December) and one in the Spring (usually February through mid-May). Co-leaders and participants often bring a snack to share during break. At the end of each session, a covered dish supper often serves as a relaxing gathering to recollect experiences of the journey and share in fellowship.
While it is beneficial to attend at the beginning of the 13-week session, it is not mandatory. Participants can join a group at any point in the 13 weeks. In fact, we often find that participants come back again in the next session to gain continued healing.
A special program in November called “Surviving the Holidays” provides specific, helpful responses for dealing with grief during the holiday season when memories of past holidays can be overwhelming and expectations to participate in festivities can be daunting.
A new program has recently been added to our grief support ministry: “The Loss of a Spouse.” This is a one-session program and includes a video, a guide, and a supportive time for those who have recently experienced the loss of a spouse. This is offered several times during the year. All programs are open to anyone: community, church family and friends/family of church family. For more information on grief ministry offerings at Aldersgate, please contact us today!
Submitted by Judy Sterner, Congregational Care
Be sure to check out this article in our full July 2019 newsletter - Click Here!