While everyone experiences loss in a unique and personal way, listening to stories of how others cope with grief offers compelling insight and opportunity to glean helpful strategies, and can aid in healing and recovery. Support groups provide just such an opportunity to share feelings, strategies for coping and, sometimes, a shoulder to cry on.
According to the Hospice Foundation of America grief is experienced in many ways: physical, emotional and spiritual. Sharing with others who are grieving can reaffirm your own emotional state, and provide assurance that what you are feeling is normal.
The AARP Caregiving Resource Center says that, ideally, you would want a support group that is led by a professional who has experience with group dynamics. Sometimes you will run across a peer-led group that is run by people in the group. Regardless, reach out to the group leader before you attend a meeting to understand how the meeting is run and what to expect.
Grief support group listings may be found at your local hospital, library, church or synagogue, and county government complex. One online site, GriefShare, offers a way to look for support groups by simply typing in your postal ZIP code. Locations of the organization sponsoring the group, address, date and time of group meetings all pop-up in a matter of moments.
So if you think a bereavement support group may offer you extra support while you are experiencing grief, visit one. If it doesn’t feel right you may always look for a different group that makes you comfortable and secure. Support groups offer a safe environment alongside others who have experienced loss and who truly understand the journey you are traveling.