Grief Support Group

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The holidays, a joyous time to surround yourselves with the ones you love and take time to appreciate all we have in life, right? Sadly, this is not the case for everyone. As life progresses we all go through times of tragic loss. For those people, the holidays are a reminder of loved ones who have since passed.

Our Chaplain, Mary Eller and fellow resident and Stephen’s minister, Linda Sprandel have come up with a beautiful program to help those who are struggling with the loss of a loved one. “Grief is like an ocean. It can be tranquil and calm and other times a tsunami of emotions can hit us with no warning.”

Twice a year Mary and Linda offer a grief support group. This is a safe space where our elders and family members of our elders can come to discuss the loss they have experienced, open up to others and learn how to process and handle these emotions. Tear soup, “A recipe for healing after loss” is a book that both Mary and Linda use as a resource to illustrate the emotions that one deals with who has experienced a death.

These classes, which usually last 6 weeks but has been extended to a total of 9 weeks at times is beneficial for anyone struggling with grief. “It is so great. It is a quiet time where people come to share their own stories. I have seen new friendships form from this group.”

The first session usually begins around March/April and the second sessions starts in October. Mary sends out letters to any resident that has experienced loss within the last year and invites them to join in this group. “Of the invites I send out I usually get a 25% response, which is good” says Mary. When discussing this with me one thing Mary made abundantly clear was that is it OK to cry. She encourages people who have experienced loss to allow the emotions you are feeling to be fully expressed. If you feel overwhelmed by grief, do not hesitate to call Chaplain Mary.

Both Mary and Linda are available if you are interested in joining the next grief support group or you need someone to talk to. They can be reached at 717-838-5406 ext. 3054.

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