When a loved one dies, the loss is real. And grief can be heavy. But you don’t need to grieve alone.
Over the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of facilitating sessions of GriefShare at Browncroft. This 13-week program, which launches again on September 12, offers a friendly, caring group of people who walk alongside one another during one of life’s most difficult experiences.
There are 3 components to the GriefShare program – a video, a workbook, and group discussions. We meet for 2 hours each week in a time that consists of a 30 minute opening discussion, a 30-40 minute video, and then about an hour of group discussion regarding what was presented in the video. The workbook that comes with the program includes an outline for each video, 5 activities per week to be done individually, a brief bio of the presenters, and other helpful information about the grief process.
The support doesn’t end there though. There is also a daily encouraging email about grief that people can sign up for through GriefShare that will last for a year. And the international ministry website for GriefShare has other opportunities to assist with the grief process.
As I think about the GriefShare experience, I think about how fast it goes. It seems as if we just get started and then we are ending 3 months later. People come into the group in the beginning not knowing totally what to expect and thinking there is little hope. But after the first few times meeting, it is so encouraging to watch relationships develop that help the participants process the hurt inside them.
The program starts by acknowledging that everyone’s grief is unique, but also that we can learn how to deal with that uniqueness. The individuals featured in the videos are very helpful in this as they share from their many years of experience dealing with grief and as they connect scriptural principles to that process. Those principles are also explored in the workbook, which allows us all time to reflect and pray individually as we prepare for the group sessions.
GriefShare continues at Browncroft after so many years because we have seen its influence in people’s lives. Some encouraging comments that participants have shared with me include:
- I appreciated the safe space to express our grief.
- GriefShare helped immerse me in the Word of God and helped comfort me and gave me hope that I can survive the loss of my beloved husband.
- Each topic discussed were pertinent, the videos were easy to follow, and the group discussions were complementary.
By the way, GriefShare is actually an opportunity to reach beyond Browncroft to help people. Many times we have had more people attend GriefShare that are not Browncrofters than those who are. It’s an opportunity to support our brothers and sisters in other churches in the area who do not have a GriefShare program. And actually we are seeing more churches offering the program as they become aware of its power. Praise God!
Remember, you don’t need to grieve alone. If we can be of help to you, please plan to come September 12!