Families Find Similar Experiences Through Bereavement Support Groups

By Mark Dailey

Each month the Niagara Hospice Bereavement Services Department offers several support groups that focus on a particular type of loss. Oftentimes, people wonder what the real value is when it comes to support groups, and what purpose support groups have.

To best answer that question, there is an old proverb that says, "Peoples is peoples and shoes is shoes." Remember, not all proverbs make sense at first. Basically, what this expression means is that all shoes are the same, but they are also all different.

Along similar lines, all people are the same, but they are also all different. People are the same in that they have the same needs. They all have dreams, they all love, all aspire, all have fears and strengths, and all cry. On the other hand, each one is an individual with very different and unique characteristics. The idea that "peoples is peoples and shoes is shoes" is critical to sustaining successful support groups. People encounter grief and express their feelings in a variety of ways, but there are similarities in everyone's experiences.

When it comes to grief and loss, our bereavement counselors know this truth about people, and that's why support groups have such value in helping those who are experiencing loss. Support groups help individuals realize that they are not losing touch with reality, and that they are not alone in their feelings.

Support groups underscore the reality that others feel and experience similar things as you do. It allows a safe, non-judgmental place to express thoughts and feelings, and most importantly, it lets one see that others are experiencing grief. Support groups help us understand that even though we feel alone, at least in part we know we are not.

If you, or someone you know, is dealing with a loss, consider participating in a support group or refer the individual to Niagara Hospice to explore their options. To see the times and location of our scheduled support groups, please visit our bereavement support page.

Subscribe to receive news and event information!