Finding support following the loss of a loved one can create great challenges for the griever. In the beginning, if we’re lucky, we will be surrounded by family and friends. Calling to check in, dropping off food, asking if there’s anything they can do to help…in the early days of a loss we may not feel an immediate need for outside help.
But time changes that. The people around us go back to their lives, and that seems to be just about the time when the numbness is wearing off and the depth and reality of the loss is settling in.
This may be the time when some choose to look for help. So how to choose? And how to know what’s right for you?
If there’s two things I always say to the grievers I’m working with, it’s #1- there is no such thing as too much support. The more support, the more outlets, the more people you are talking to and sharing with - the better. And #2 - everything is worth trying, at least once.
Too often people try to go it alone. Because of fear, or maybe pride, they decide to not reach out and get help, even when feeling scared, lonely or isolated.
Making the next step to seek out assistance can be hard, but understanding what’s out there may help.
Support Groups- Probably the most common type of help, the support group can be a wonderful thing for many reasons. Most of the time they are free and facilitated by someone who is either a trained professional or by someone who has had a personal experience with loss. The support group serves to connect those who are grieving, and to give them an opportunity to talk in a “safe” environment, and to know that they are not alone.
Counselor/Therapist- Here, an individual has an opportunity to talk specifically about what is going on with them. In a support group each person needs to be given equal time, but with a therapist, a griever can spend the entire time talking about their issue only. This allows for more depth of conversation and exploring of specific issues related to their loss.
Online message boards- The appeal of online support is that it can be done from anywhere, at any time. So if work, childcare, expense, or transportation is a factor, than finding support can be as simple as going online and reaching out, whenever you need it.
At Grief in Common we have taken the benefits of all of these types of support and combined them, while simultaneously eliminating the challenges faced with each. How?
1. Most support groups meet only once a month. It is impossible to plan for those very low moments when help is more critically needed. At www.griefincommon.com help is available all day and all night.
2. Grievers dealing with a loss related to substance abuse or suicide, for example, tend to feel that they will get better support from those who have lost their loved one in a similar way. At www.griefincommon.com, grievers can choose exactly who they want to connect with by creating profiles that include who they are who, who they lost, how recently their loss occurred, and what the circumstances of the loss were.
3. The expense of a therapist may be prohibitive to some if paying out of pocket, or if their insurance only covers a small amount of visits. www.griefincommon.com is free to join and includes a lifetime free membership for those who join now.
4. While there are many online supports for grief, not all of them are monitored or moderated. At www.griefincommon.com an administrator oversees the joining of each member and continues to supervise the forums, while still maintaining the privacy of communication that goes on between members.
5. Remembering that we are more than the sum of our grief, those who join www.griefincommon.com will be asked to share their background, hobbies or interest. As the site grows and members are added, the hope is that eventually grievers will be able to connect with others who live in their area and perhaps even meet in person.
So if you’re ready, or whenever you do feel ready, know that there is help. It is worthwhile to reach out. Give any or all of the above a try. There are people who understand, and you do not have to do this alone.