By Lynn M. Acquafondata
On a cool fall evening last week, I sat outside by a fire with my mother and husband and shared memories of my brother. It had been a year since he died unexpectedly.
When he died part of me and my life died too. At first all my attention focused on the gaping hole his death left in my life. Each week on the day and time he died I would vividly remember the scene of his death and that sudden and overwhelming feeling of loss.
As a grief counselor I knew I had to face my emotions and do my own work of grieving, alone, with family and friends and by receiving my own grief counseling.
Lately I’m more focused on the part of him that continues to live on through me and others. He so profoundly influenced and shaped me that I couldn’t be who I am today without him. My life can’t be separate from his, even after his death.
Grief is a long and unasked for journey. It helps to have companions along the way who can offer support, and guidance. Though each journey is unique, some common responses, emotions and challenges often face people who have suffered the death of a loved one.
I offer two support groups to help people grieving to cope. I begin by offering some education on one aspect of grieving, then I facilitate sharing among those who are gathered. I keep the groups small, so that people don’t get overwhelmed and to allow each person a chance to share and receive support. We follow guidelines that keep the group emotionally safe for those who participate.
I find that people who are newly grieving find hope and learn tools from people who have been grieving longer. I also find that people who are still struggling years later are able to see how far they have actually come. These longer term grievers often begin to figure out how to come to terms with grieving and how to continue forward in life.
If you could use individual of group support please call 585-473-2673. I offer one grief group for people who have experienced the death of any family member or close friend, and a second designed for parents who have suffered the death of an adult child.