For the last couple of months, the focus of this column has been on dealing with grief. So far, we’ve looked at the need to bring grief out into the open rather than hide it away and, last month, we looked at the power of being present with someone grieving. This month, I’d like to consider the importance of knowing people who have gone through a similar journey.
Grief is isolating and usually leaves the grieving person with a deep sense of being alone. Because we hide grief away, we don’t always get to see how others have processed their grief so we feel we are on our own.
This is where community groups and, especially support groups are helpful. There are many wonderful support groups in our area, such as those that help with the loss of a child or for carers of seriously ill people. One of the things I love about support groups is that they don’t come with “all the answers” – they simply bring together people with similar experiences to share their common stories. It is through this shared experience that healing can be found, by realising we’re not alone and discovering a network of people with whom we share the journey.
We need each other, as Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.”
I worked with a guy whose wife was diagnosed with dementia – a cruel disease that affects so many people. One of the cruellest aspects of dementia is how isolating it can be. It was at a point when my friend was finding things particularly difficult that he discovered a carer’s support group and it was there that he discovered new friendships and support that lasted many years and were also there for him when his wife sadly passed away. Community matters.
Perhaps you or someone you know is struggling on their own. Reach out to a support group and discover the healing and help that is found in community.