Our demographics show that many folks retire to our southern states and South Carolina is not an exception. Seniors can bring a wealth of ideas and experience, as well as time and efforts helping a community. Our wonderful world has changed quite a bit this past year. Since early this year, the south and the entire world has been invaded with a virus that has changed our lives and everyone in it. Most of us know someone who has been affected by the virus, and many lives have ended. We hope to be on the 'ending' part of this pandemic tragedy with vaccines being available soon.
One thing retiring seniors have in common in their future: one of them may lose their life-long partner. It is a joy to share our golden years with someone we have been together with for decades. Suddenly being without them, the survivor may not function as he/she did at their pre-loss capacity.
But steps can be taken to ensure one's life doesn't fall apart while he or she are in the midst of it. "This, too, shall pass".
Grief is a complex situation. When you are in the throes of it, one may find it difficult to do almost anything else. Many people just want the pain to end but are convinced it never will. Reaching out to others and accepting support is often difficult when you are hurting so much. It's best to seek those persons who will 'walk with", not "in front of" or 'behind" you in your journey with grief.
There is a free grief program called Grief Share where the members will walk 'with you'. We have many such groups in our local area especially at our many churches. There are over 12,000 such programs all over the world and you can find one near you; online your computer at www.griefshare.org
Add your zip code and you will find these healing programs that are mostly held in our church communities. They are offered free to the whole community and are Biblically-based concepts to cope with grief ; they are non-denominational. Grief Share addresses the loss of spouses, children, family members and close friends. All faiths and non-faith persons are welcome.
Today, some of these programs have been interrupted by the virus, but once the virus subsides, they will be up and running again - you can find out which ones are still out there (computer streaming) by going to their website at www.griefshare.org -- there are phone numbers and locations locally as well as uplifting healing articles - you won't feel alone.
The program normally consists of 13 sessions [one day a week for 13 weeks - usually in the afternoon]. Each session consists of a video seminar featuring grief recovery experts. A small support group discussion follows. There is a workbook journal & exercises for each session. Workbooks cost $15 - the only cost to you if you want one and you don't have to purchase it. The workbook is helpful to see how you are progressing.
The atmosphere is friendly and supportive. It is a 'safe environment' where confidentiality is affirmed and friendship bonds are formed.
Often, friends and family want to help you but don't know how. That's the reason Grief Share was formed. The groups are led by caring people/facilitators who have experienced grief and have successfully rebuilt their lives. We understand how you feel because we've been in the same place. We will walk with you on the path of grief toward healing and hope for the future. Our groups in SC are part of a network of 12,000+ churches worldwide that offer Grief Share support issues. Both men and women join us; it is not a social program but friends have been made. Sometimes we have all male and all female support groups. It's your choice. If you travel while in a program, there may be other Grief Share sites that you can 'make up' what you lost - other churches times & dates are available on the website also.
Many new bonds and friendships are formed at the meeting; healing results from shared experiences and ways to cope with one's loss. We hope to have safe meetings sometime in the coming spring.
At these meetings, you will have begun the process. And the only way forward is to put one step in front of the other. Grief Share helps to do that. This newspaper and church notices/bulletins will announce when these sessions will take place. The Grief Share website lists the dates & times & where & phone numbers.
We look forward to meeting you; God's blessings & peace be with you. Even if you are not ready yet for the meetings, check out the many uplifting articles in the website. Hope to see you in the future!
Marie Coppola December 2020