I have had several people ask about the Love Never Ends Peer Support Groups, so I thought I should answer the questions. Before I do, here is a comment I received about the group. "The ability to share and have someone listen, and not judge, and know that they actually care and can relate to you, allows you to take your time in your own grief process." We have had parents connect with other parents at the group and form friendships that have helped each other find healing outside the group. Other parents have been able to resolve some deeper issues by just having a safe place to talk.
We have been meeting for about the last fifteen months and the groups seem to be very helpful. Everyone in the group is a parent who has lost a child. Some have had recent losses, and others, like me, have a number of years of experience since we lost our child. The purpose of the group is to provide a safe place to talk about our pain, our victories, and to share hope to each other. I don't see the group as long-term commitment. It is designed to be there when you need it, for as long as you need it.
The flow of the meeting is kept simple. It opens with a welcome and a prayer. Then everyone introduces themselves. Next the facilitator will read the group guidelines that keep the group a safe place. Then each participant is given up to five minutes to talk about their child and where they are in their grief journey. After everyone has had an opportunity to speak, we open up a discussion time where participants can ask questions of the group, or we discuss a grief topic. When the discussion stops or we get to the end of the scheduled time, the facilitator will close the meeting with a prayer, and we enter into an optional social time. We are looking forward to taking this format online in October to help more people find a safe place to talk.