Call me biased, but I believe everyone can benefit from some form of grief support following the death of a loved one. It seems like the biggest misconception about grief support is that it's therapy. To me, the word "therapy" implies dealing with physical or mental pathology.
Grief is a normal, natural response to loss, even though a person might feel like they are going crazy after a loved one dies. I blame our grief-avoidant culture and a lack of understanding about the grief process when I need to reassure people that no, you are not going crazy. Grief support is just that- support. A collaboration between the bereaved and the grief professional. Arbor Hospice offers many types of grief support in order to help people cope with the death of a loved one.
Grief is a tremendously isolating experience. One of the ways to overcome social isolation is to join a grief support group. ArborHospice offers a variety of support groups for adults throughout the year. This winter, we are offering groups that specifically address the loss of a spouse, parent, or child. We are also offering a group called "general loss" that is open to any bereaved adult, regardless of the relationship to the deceased. We frequently hear from grief support group participants that the most beneficial aspect of their group experience is that everyone in the room "gets it"- they don't need to explain why their loss is so significant because everyone comes to the table with a shared understanding of what it's like to experience the death of a wife, child, father, sibling or friend. Participants also report that it's very helpful to learn more about the grief process, as well as ways to cope with the loss and continue to include the deceased in their lives. Group members frequently decide to keep meeting on their own after the staff-led group sessions have concluded.
All of our groups are free of charge and open to the public. The groups are limited to 12 participants to guarantee equal time for everyone, and meet once per week for 6-8 weeks. Our general loss group begins February 4 and is still accepting registrations. If a loss of spouse, parent or child grief support group sounds like something you're interested in, we will be offering those groups again in the future. Check our website for the most up-t0-date information.
A grief support group isn't for everyone. Another option is our quarterly "Grief 101: What to expect when grieving" session. Grief 101 is more educational in nature and provides participants with information and resources. The presentation covers what is normal during the grief process, strategies for coping, suggestions for self care, and provides an opportunity to ask questions. If you are a "just the facts, ma'am" type-of-person or are inclined more towards a classroom-style presentation versus a processing group, then Grief 101 is for you. Our next Grief 101 presentation is Tuesday, April 22 from 7-8:30 pm at the Pittsfield Library in Ann Arbor. Call 734-794-5375 to register.
Support groups and Grief 101 presentations are just two examples of the grief support services Arbor Hospice has to offer. For more information on all of our grief support services, please check out our website.
What type of grief support have you found helpful as you've grieved the loss of a loved one?