The holidays can be a time of cheer and happiness.
But for some, it can be a reminder of something missing.
“It’s a hard time for people,” said Elaine Schrader, GriefShare program director. “They think about all the traditions and gifts that they shared with someone who is no longer there.”
Schrader started the GriefShare program at Walnut Hills Baptist Church in August after she noticed a number of her friends and family were having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one.
GriefShare is a national organization that provides the tools for local groups to give support and help to those working through grief, according to the organization’s website. During a 13-week series, members of the church and community gathered to watch DVDs and work in journals to learn about living with grief.
“It’s not something you never really get over, it’s just learning how to keep going,” Schrader said.
Each week there were about 12 members that attended meetings and with the success of the program, Schrader and other volunteers decided to offer an extra session Sunday aimed at dealing with grief during the holidays.
Just like regular meetings, the holiday session featured a lecture via DVD that will give tips on surviving the holidays while dealing with loss.
“It tells you things that are so simple but you never would’ve thought about on your own,” Schrader said. “It tells us that you don’t have to put out all the decorations this year. Start a new tradition this year. And most of all to just give yourself a break because you’re probably doing the best you can.”
This session was free to the public, but to participate in the 13-week course there is a fee of $15 which covers a group member’s workbook. The workbooks have guided journal prompts that help members reflect on their discussions and their process, Schrader said.
But the healing doesn’t just stop with journals and DVDs. Schrader said the group helps to foster a sense of community among people going through a similar experience.
“We want people to know it really is a journey and they don’t have to do it alone,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just a long process.”
The GriefShare group at Walnut Hill Baptist Church will start their next 13-week course on Feb. 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. Those interested can register online.
Schrader said she hopes to see the group continue to grow so people around the community can have the support they need.
“These help because they tell you what you’re going through is normal and that you can get through it,” she said.