OVERCOMING GRIEF: Support group offers fellowship, healing

Published 5:09 pm Monday, September 3, 2018

Losing a loved one can be one of the most painful experiences in life. The grief left in the wake of loss can be a powerful emotion that is difficult to process. The profound sadness, the sense of emptiness and the loneliness felt can be overwhelming.

If you are suffering the loss of someone you love, you are not alone.

Starting Wednesday, First Church of Christ will begin a 13-week series called GriefShare, a support group offered twice each year through a partnership between the church and Paul Funeral Home.

“GriefShare has been around for a long time, “ Retired First Christian Church Minister Steve Hill said. “It’s an international program used all across the world used to help out people in probably the toughest time of their life.”

Since Hill first brought the program to First Church of Christ in 2002, GriefShare has helped countless people in our community work through their grief — children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, spouses — people of all ages have found healing through the program.

Today, Shelia Moore, office manager at Paul Funeral Home and a congregant of First Church of Christ, leads the program. Each in the series of self-contained sessions consists of three components — a support group style meeting where anyone is welcome to share, a series of videos produced by people who have dealt with loss and workbook style journaling exercises meant to prompt reflection and healing.

“It’s very casual, and there’s no pressure,” Moore said. “One thing about the video series is that they are by people who have actually experienced the same losses, people who have lost a parent, a child or a friend. It’s not a lecture on grief.”

In addition to those who have experienced loss, Moore says that participants are welcome to bring friends or family members for emotional support. Childcare is also available during the session through the church’s Wednesday night programs for children and youth.

“The greatest strength of the program is sitting in a room with somebody else who is going through the same thing you are going through,” Hill said.

GriefShare will hold its first meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, with sessions continuing every week through Nov. 28. The meetings will be held in the Family Life Center at First Church of Christ at 520 E. 10th St., Washington. The program is also held each spring as well, and there is no charge to attend. For more information, call Moore at (252) 945-5497.