Every individual’s grief journey is unique. The journey is as unique as every individual facing the grief brought on by loss. However, I have found several important disciplines that I believe are transferrable to anyone who is facing loss. To one degree or another.
I found I needed time alone to process what had happened. In my times alone, I spent time in God’s Word, books and testimonials about grief and loss, and uplifting worshipful music. I prayed. Prayer was stunted at first. Another important aspect to my own recovery was being with people, some facing loss and others not facing loss. You need both to maintain perspective.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
And that’s where GriefShare, the ministry, comes into the picture. I joined a GriefShare group toward the final stages of my journey of loss. It doesn’t matter when or how often you join a group. What I needed was someone outside of my journey to help me make sure I had addressed all I needed to address. Their methodical approach to address grief and mourning from all directions provides a helpful guide to anyone seeking to face loss in a healthy manner.
“GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.” GriefShare Homepage
GriefShare’s design is threefold: There is a workbook to guide personal study and reflection, a weekly video with experts on grief, and support groups with guided discussion.
The effectiveness of this format leads you to cover every grief-related aspect of your journey. Further, you get to join with other grievers to hear expert testimonials. Expert may mean counselors, or it may mean fellow travelers. Going through grief makes you an expert on at least one person’s grief journey. Yours. Finally, the discussion groups are filled with real-time mourners. This is not a hypothetical discussion. These groups are full of grief practitioners.
“GriefShare seminars and support groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and want to help. You’ll gain access to valuable GriefShare resources to help you recover from your loss and look forward to rebuilding your life.” GriefShare Homepage
GriefShare groups follow a thirteen-week cycle. I joined at the beginning of a cycle; however, the course is designed in such a manner that it doesn’t matter when you join. What matters is that you complete all thirteen weeks of material, video content, and discussion groups.
While grief emerges from many forms of loss, GriefShare is specifically designed to address the loss of a loved one or other significant relationships. A person grieving the loss of a job or the loss brought on by divorce would be out-of-place. GriefShare, again, is laser-focused on the loss of a significant relationship to death.
One of the key benefits of joining a GriefShare group is the instant sense that you are understood and validated. You escape the busy and chaotic world for an hour or so and dive into a grief subculture long enough to talk to other like-minded people. It’s healing. It’s validating. It’s permission to mourn. But to mourn well.
For more information, go to www.GriefShare.org. Here you can find a group, gain access to resources, and learn all you need to learn about GriefShare.
I commend the GriefShare ministry to you. Their vision is to move those of us who are thrust into grief from mourning to real joy. Joy is possible, even in the darkest of circumstances.
“Few of us get through life without having the winds of difficulty blow through our lives at some point—cold and unrelenting winds that threaten to knock us down for good.” Nancy Guthrie, Be Still My Soul
So well said. Thanks for sharing D Ray.
Thank you, Jerry, for being a huge part of my journey from mourning to joy! I appreciate my GriefShare group!
My name is Tiffany, and my husband and I lost our 26 year old daughter tragically eight months ago. We joined Griefshare after two months, in the middle of their cycle. As God would have it, the particular group we went to was for child loss alone. We finished that cycle and went through another complete cycle. When I say it saved my life, I MEAN it saved my life. I did not think what happened to us was survivable. I believe one of the most important things, if not THE most important thing a grieving person can do is to talk to others who are grieving. To see others at different stages of grief gave us so much hope. Mr. Davis, we listened to you speak at a seminar in Birmingham with Rick and Sherry Burgess in September. Many things you said resonated with us regarding sudden death. That seminar, like Griefshare were the first groups that I have been in where I didn’t feel alone. Now, my husband and I will be leading a Griefshare at our church starting in February. I enjoy your blogs, trying to catch up from the beginning!
Tiffany, thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry for your loss of your daughter. No doubt it seems unsurvivable because it is unsurvivable alone. It just underscores the importance of gaining a broad perspective by meeting with others. Again, I found such solace in God’s Word, reading, music, and counsel with others. I’m glad you came to the event in Birmingham. It was also helpful for me to fellowship with others and to rehearse my own journey of loss. Blessings as you continue reading!
GriefShare is a great program! I went through the program and later helped teach it!!! Very helpful program!!!
Yes Faye, it is a great program…and I commend it to others.
Dear D. Ray,
Thank you for this post about GriefShare. I, along with fellow missionary, Chaplain Susan Westfall, have been facilitating GriefShare groups for about 5 years. We are beginning a new group January 5th (registered through the GS website). What a blessing it had been to watch participants shed “pounds” of grief during those 13-weeks of support. An even greater blessing has come as pastors testify, “I sure wish I had known this information throughout the many years I have counseled my congregants through their times of grief.” Your blog is timely and needed. I’d like to share it as we work through our GS course promotion over the next 2 weeks. How do I do that?
Ann, I’m glad you have found it helpful and I’m glad you’re serving through GriefShare. All you need to do is click one of the links—for Facebook, Twitter, or the “Share Via” to copy the link. Then share it via whatever means you desire. Or you can copy the link address from the site and share the link in whatever way you want. But by all means, feel free to share.