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Bereavement support groups healing the entire community

Grief can be a tough journey, but there are services offered locally to help anyone deal with what they are going through
dalla ferguson
Della Ferguson runs four separate bereavement support groups at Jones-Parkview Funeral Services, which have branched out to create two suicide awareness groups in Moose Jaw.

Della Ferguson of Jones-Parkview Funeral Services has been running bereavement support groups in Moose Jaw since 1999, and she finds that they offer an indisputable comfort to those who attend. 

Grief can be a difficult journey, and finding people in similar circumstances can sometimes ease the burden, said Ferguson. That is why she runs several bereavement support groups each month, to provide advice, support, and even reading materials to help navigate one’s grief.

The four different groups that Ferguson moderates focus on healing through experiencing those feelings of grief, and expressing them in a supportive environment full of people who truly understand. 

Common Ground invites those who have lost their spouse to weekly meetings over five weeks, offered in the spring and fall of each year. The group focuses on adjusting to life without that loved one. 

“That aloneness of being without their partner is so profound that they need to have that safe space and connecting with others who really get it,” said Ferguson. “All of these groups are all about being with others who really get it. . . We want to offer people that opportunity of a safe space to share, to speak their grief, to release and process it.”

The Hope group, which meets on the second Wednesday of each month, welcomes those who have experienced loss of any kind, while the Bereaved Parents group that meets on the third Wednesday of each month focuses on those who have lost a child. 

The Survivors of Suicide group meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month and addresses the feelings that come from being affected by suicide. The group has even branched out to create a separate group, Journey to Hope, which plans a charity run each year to raise money for suicide prevention awareness. 

The youth chapter, Journey 2 Hope, also just formed this past winter and are including youth voices in the public discussion about suicide. 

Bereavement is a struggle that Ferguson feels deserves attention, as it affects almost everyone in some way. Ferguson and the Jones-Parkview Funeral group feel that bereavement support is vital for the community, and has seen these support groups create lasting connections between people. 

“By bringing people together, there's just this sense of, 'wow, you get it. I am not alone,’” said Ferguson. “Often it gives them friends to journey with, because they've networked.”

Each of these groups meets at Jones-Parkview Funeral Services, at 474 Hochelaga St. W, with attendance free and non-committal. The groups are entirely confidential, to encourage the feeling of a safe space. 

Jones-Parkview also hosts a Christmas gathering, the Mourning Star Service on Dec. 5, in recognition that times like the holidays can be difficult following a loss. They also participate in the world-wide candle lighting for bereaved parents on Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.

For more information about bereavement support, check the Jones-Parkview Funeral Services website, or give them a call at 1 (306) 693-4644.

“We want to support people in healing, healthy strategies,” said Ferguson.

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