By MARILYN TINNIN
Love, laughter, and good times—all part of the holiday season. From the first thought of a Thanksgiving turkey right through the New Year’s Eve “Auld Lang Syne,” we are conditioned to expect happiness. But the reality for many is quite the opposite. For those who are grieving the loss of someone close to them, holidays can only amplify their heartache. There is no statute of limitations on grief. Years may pass, and for ten months of the year one functions fine, but the memories that just naturally arrive with the holiday festivities can throw someone into a deep sadness.
GriefShare is an international ministry that provides support to people in the local community who are grieving the death of a loved one. Cindy Namanny heads a GriefShare group that meets weekly at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at 1799 Clinton Raymond Road in Clinton. Anyone can join the group at any time, but there is a special one-night event in November called “Surviving the Holidays”. It is designed just for those who are dealing with grief this holiday season. The seminar consists of a 40-minute video with practical tips, an opportunity to hear from others who are also dealing with personal grief, an opportunity to share or not to share your own experience, and a Holiday Survival Guide that will take you through the next weeks.
Cindy says, “The death of a loved one impacts one’s earthly life forever. We learn to walk with our grief, not to stop it. We learn to move forward in our living without our loved one. This is a painful process and varies from individual to individual.” In her own life journey, she says the loss of a child and the loss of her parents will always involve a degree of pain from time to time, but “the tears are fewer, the smiles come easier and are more frequent, and I can do things in their name and honor.” GriefShare definitely prevents the grief from “ambushing” her.
Vickie Giles is one regular attendee in the group that meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. She and her brother, who had been their mother’s caregivers, felt the loss so profoundly after her death in July that Vickie began looking for some resource to help her work through her grief. “It was just the help I needed. Everything is scripture-based and I am so comforted by this group.”
This is a very close and supportive circle of new friends, but not a group pity party by any means. Cindy says, “The dynamic that bonds the participants in Grief Share is the fact that they will never see their loved one again on this side of heaven. We also stress the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ as the foundation to personal healing from grief.”
If you are interested in Grief Share, call Cindy Namanny at 601.924.9999 or visit GriefShare.org to find a group near you. There are many groups throughout our state.