All are welcome to our GriefShare grief support group for adults 18 years and older at St. Catherine Catholic Church in the Parish Hall Room 14 from 2:30-4 p.m. Our first meeting will be Sunday, March 22.

What is GriefShare?

GriefShare takes us from mourning to the joy that Christ desires for each of us. The GriefShare program contains 13 sessions, a workbook for use at home, a 30-40-minute video, materials, and discussion time. We have found GriefShare to be a warm, caring, comforting environment where those grieving find peace, comfort, healing, direction and purpose in their lives through the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the members of the group. You are most welcome to come to one or all of the sessions and bring a friend or family member age 18 and over. We hope you will consider joining us if your loss was recent or many years ago, we would like to be of service to you.

GriefShare runs from March through October with sessions every other week. There is a special Surviving the Holidays seminar in mid-November.

Past participants have grown in their faith and love for the Lord through this group. The sharing in small groups has helped those who are grieving to know they are not alone and that others share this difficult journey with them.

Don’t take my word for it; here is how group members have described the GriefShare experience:

“A safety net when my world was literally falling apart.”

“The permission I needed to let grief happen.”

“I saw my grief so much more clearly.”

“I was able to see I was not alone.”

“I would be a mess if it weren’t for GriefShare.”

“I felt so safe and so loved.”

“Group members quickly become family.”

“GriefShare has given me hope.”

“I truly felt Jesus and his disciples were walking with me on this, a journey I was lost on.”

Death, separation, divorce, illness, family trauma, job loss or moving to a new location result in great losses that make the holidays, birthdays and anniversaries difficult.

Therefore, here are a few practical tips.

• Prepare — The ambush of emotions can attack at any time; prepare beforehand.

• Accept the difficulty of the time of year and your loss. Remind yourself that it’s a season and it will pass.

• Socialize — Don’t hibernate. Insecure feelings may tempt you to isolate but force yourself to go out even if it’s only for a short time.

• Lower your expectations — Movies and songs paint an unrealistic picture.

• Don’t anesthetize the pain with drugs or alcohol — Numbing emotional distress with chemicals creates more depression.

• Trimming — During the holidays, if old ornaments or trimmings cause too much pain, don’t hang them this year. Put them aside for another time. Consider attending just our Surviving the Holidays seminar.

• Get up and move — Take care of your physical well-being. Healthy foods will give you strength; fattening and sugar-filled foods can worsen your depression. Exercise produces natural stress reducers.

• Shop online if going to the mall is too stressful.

• Coping strategy — Have the phone number of your GriefShare facilitator, counselor, pastor, church, close friend or hotline already taped to your phone. Make the commitment to call someone if negative thoughts get fierce.

• Light — Stay in the “Light.” Get out in the sunshine, keep blinds and curtains open during the day. “Darkness” can take its toll on your emotions by the loss of sun you experience.

• Invite a new (same-sex) friend to see a movie, have dinner or just to visit.

• Set boundaries — Precisely explain to your family and friends what you are capable of doing right now, and what you aren’t. Don’t let others guilt you into taking on more than you can handle.

• Reach out to others by discovering people who might also be feeling alone and isolated by grief.

You do not have to be Catholic or a member of St Catherine Church to attend the GriefShare program. Again, all are welcome! If you miss a few sessions, you can still join us anytime as the sessions are unique each time. May God continue to bless and console you with His everlasting peace and love.

For more information, or to register, please contact JoMarie Grinkiewicz at jomarie@stcathe.org.