Community

SwanFinal

All who suffer a loss through death do so in a community. Your community may be small or large. Your community may meet your needs for support, or it may withdraw sooner than you wish. How your community responds to you becomes part of your story of loss.

You may need additional support outside your usual community. It is often helpful to be with those whose stories seem similar to your own. An intimacy may be created built on a common experience rather than length of knowing one another.

All support groups for the bereaved began by a few individuals getting together to help each other. Take Compassionate Friends for example. This international support group for parents who have experienced the death of a child began by a minister in England introducing one set of grieving parents to another. Now there are 650 chapters meeting monthly to offer a safe place to parents, grandparents and siblings who mourn.

Be willing to seek new communities if you need more support. These communities may be formal meetings, or informal or online gatherings. Giving words to your grief in a safe place with others who mourn may offer extra comfort in this season of loss.

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Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. For 35 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice. Dr. O'Malley has recently published a book, "Getting Grief Right" about grief recovery.

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