Holidays are coming, grief support group offers help

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 6, 2014

The holiday season can sometimes be difficult for those dealing with grief, but there is a local support group which aims to help people get through those and other hard times.

The Rev. Tim Trent of First United Methodist Church and the Rev. Cindy Howard of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church established the group in 2013, and are the facilitators.

Trent and Howard help lead the conversation and give guidance, and they have seen a need to discuss preparing for the upcoming holidays.

“We will be talking about how to handle the holidays when dealing with grief,” Trent said. “We’re trying to get them prepared and give them the tools to get through the holidays.”

Some members are facing their first holiday season without a loved one, and Trent said the group will be talking through how to carry on family customs and traditions.

“You have to go through a whole year’s cycle to get through all of these firsts without your loved one,” Trent said. “You have to go through a whole year cycle before you can buckle down on handling the grief.”

Members of the group share a wide range of experiences and stages of grief, including the loss of a spouse, family member or job.

“I see those who are new to their grief can look to those who have been with the group longer and know that it’s never going to be easy, but it will get better,” Howard said.

Howard said dealing with grief is not always about talking about it, but forming a fellowship.

“It’s about forming many new friendships and sharing stories about the good life,” Howard said. “Sometimes we deal with specific issues that people are having, but a lot of the time we just talk about things going on in our lives and spend the hour laughing.”

Trent and Howard said the group is very informal and there is no strict guideline for dealing with grief.

“We have a lot of laughter and a lot of tears,” Trent said. “It is important for us to laugh and have a sense of humor.”

Trent said that grief is different for everybody and has to be handled in a person’s own way.

The group is open to anyone, and Howard said newcomers are welcome and do not have to be a member of their churches or any church to participate.

Howard said the group talks about the role spirituality can play in dealing with grief and it is part of the conversation, but she said, “I would hope that anyone, even if they were not a religious person, would feel helped and welcome.”

The group meets at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays in the library at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, located at 1307 E. Three Notch St.

For more information, call Howard at 334-222-2487 or Trent at 334-222-5018.