By John Fulton
Editor’s Note: Fulton went through the grief process when Karen, his wife passed away in 2014. He understands the process and stages of grief firsthand.
Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene is hosting a GriefShare Recovery Support Group for the community at large. The program is designed by GriefShare. Its website says they “are a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.”
Some of the topics covered in this support group are Living with Grief, The Effects of Grief, The Uniqueness of Grief and Top 20 Lessons of Grief. The sessions are designed to help survivors through the process of grief and to the point of rebuilding and restoring life.
The group will have launched when you read this, but those in need may still join. The sessions stand alone and do not have to be completed in order. The 13 sessions started January 31. They are held on Sundays from 5 -7 p.m. at the Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene in the Lakeside Room located at 7520 East U Avenue in Vicksburg.
I know firsthand that when a spouse, child, family member or a beloved friend passes away there is a significant loss and intense grief may accompany the loss. As a survivor there is suddenly a large hole in your life, a loss of your partner, friend or somebody you could always turn to and just share life.
Dr. Christina Hibbert identifies five stages of grief on her website, http://www.drchristinahibbert.com. Some people become depressed and feel like they cannot go on without person that passed away. Feelings of anger and denial may take over. Some find themselves bargaining with God in an effort to find a way forward in life. The last stage a survivor must get through is acceptance.
These stages are common to many people during the grieving period. However, they are not mutually exclusive or accomplished in a linear manner. Survivors often experience several at once and sometimes move past the stage of anger, for example, only to find they still have more to experience in this stage.
GriefShare notes that individuals move through stages in different ways with a myriad of emotions that are unique to them and their relationship with the deceased. To reestablish your life it is important not to become stuck in grief. This doesn’t mean we forget the person we loved, just that there is a path forward and life can be joy-filled again.
Christians believe that when a person has accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, that physical death is transcended by a spiritual life in eternity with their Heavenly Father. This truth does not mitigate the feelings we have, but does mean we can connect in eternity with loved ones that have preceded us or follow us in death.
Veronica Tultz will be facilitating the group. She is a Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene member and has also been through the group after her father passed away. Tultz said, ‘’ I hope that the participants learn strategies to help them understand their grief and move through it”. There will be a workbook, some small homework assignments and an opportunity to journal privately to reflect on the progress members have made.
If you would like support through your grief process please call Chapman Memorial Church at 269-649-2392 to register. You may also go to their website, http://www.chapnaz.com under the Event tab to see information. For additional support, you may also visit http://www.griefshare.org. There you will find information, lessons and a daily devotional to help you through the grieving process.