Anyone who doubts the value of grief support might feel differently after listening to participants in recent sessions sponsored by Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice (GBHH&H).
All said they had benefited from the experience and would recommend it to anyone trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.
The next Monday night series of eight meetings begins June 15 and runs through Aug. 3. Sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Kirby Medical Office Building, 3520 Lakin, just south of the St. Rose Health Center campus.
GBHH&H, which is part of the St. Rose family, is a non-profit agency that has served central Kansans since 1979.
Chaplain Larry Schumacher mentioned that the “success of the group is directly related to how much you share with one another.”
From all indications, this is a successful group.
Several participants have sought the group’s help more than once and one reported that “this has been really helpful and now I am ready to move on. During the last two weeks I am starting to feel better.
“It has been three years since I lost my husband and I am glad Larry Schumacher mentioned the grief sessions,” she continued. “I thought it might not hurt. I was right.”
Participants know their conversations will be kept confidential and they can express any feeling without fear of ridicule or recrimination.
“I can express anger or I can talk about how God helped me through this; my faith allowed me to express it,” one woman said.
Participants say they try to understand when friends offer a helping hand and then don’t follow through. “They don’t know what you are going through if they haven’t been through it. They either say the wrong thing or they change the subject completely,” a man commented.
One suggestion from the group: if you say to a grieving person ‘I’m here for anything you need,’ then mean it. For example, offer to do something specific such as cook, clean or babysit.
“And if they offer to bring me food, I will suggest they stay and eat with me,” a woman added.
Those who think they can handle grief on their own are mistaken, everyone agreed, noting: You can never work it out on your own; these grief sessions make you stronger. If someone says they are handling it, they mean they are burying it inside. It will come out one way or another.
A person who has lost someone will know when it is time to seek some help. It is when “life isn’t working, and you are stagnating,” a woman said.
The youngest group member, who is in her 20s, felt alone after her mother’s death. “There were sympathy cards and flowers for a couple of weeks, and then it stopped. I have been coming here and I don’t feel alone anymore.”
Participants agree on at least one more thing - there is no time limit on grief; everyone is different and should take as much time as necessary.
GBHH&H Social Worker Cathy Soeken assists Chaplain Schumacher at the grief sessions. Both encourage others who are grieving to participate. For more information about the next sessions, call GBHH&H, 620-792-8171.
St. Rose specializes in primary care, prevention and wellness. Services include St. Rose Family Medicine & Urgent Care, Great Bend Internists, imaging, infusion clinic, WellnessWorks, one-day surgical procedures, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice and a comprehensive Specialty Clinic. St. Rose is co-owned by Hays Medical Center and Centura Health.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Grief support group members chose to remain anonymous.