The loss of a loved one is never easy. Feelings range from devastation, sadness to guilt, loneliness, loss.
A group is now formed that makes dealing with such loss not such a lonely process.
Grief Share, a grief recover support group, has been established and will meet at Fellowship Bible Church, 160 Daniel Road, Shenandoah Junction, each Tuesday evening from 7 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 10. The meeting will be facilitated by church member Bill Eshbaugh and assistant facilitator Mary Ann Yockers.
Both Eshbaugh and Yockers attended Grief Share meetings when they lost their spouses and both felt that the group was such a help to them, they wanted to offer that assistance to others. In fact, the two met each other at a Grief Share meeting held in nearby Loudoun County, Va.
Eshbaugh said that the goal of the sessions is to lead from "mourning to joy."
"The loss never goes away," he said, "but you have to learn to deal with it."
Eshbaugh explained that he attended his first session several months after the passing of his wife, Dolly, who had died from ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease).
"I realized other people are going through the same thing," he said. "It is a good time of sharing and telling about our loss," he explained. "Sort of a group therapy."
A national and international program, Grief Share offers a 13-week series of seminars touching on such topics as grief recovery, living with grief, when your spouse dies, your family and grief and the uniqueness of grief, to name a few.
Yockers stressed that individuals do not have to commit to or attend the sessions in any order. There is no cost to attend other than a $15 workbook fee which can be used repeatedly if one duplicates sessions over time. Each session is self-contained with a video and discussion and sharing time.
The sessions are open to any adult experiencing a loss of a loved one: a child, a spouse, a dear friend or other family member. A nondenominational group, the series is Christ-centered, Eshbaugh explained. That, he said, is one of the main things that drew him to the program and what has led him to organize this local meeting.
He explained that the formation of the group had to be approved by the Grief Share Council and that both he and Yockers received training on how to facilitate the meetings. The two refer to a leadership group on line where there are continuous updates, Q&A sessions and advice.
Yockers stressed that confidentiality is uppermost.
"No one's privacy is revealed," she said. "One of our most important jobs is to listen."
A grief recovery program, Eshbaugh encourages anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one to join in the meetings. More information on the local group can be found at www.fellowshipwv.org or by calling Eshbaugh at 301-834-5345. Visiting www.griefshare.org will provide additional information on the national and international organization who's goal is to help those in need in how to face the loss of a loved one.