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GriefShare aims to help those battling grief during the holidays

A time of happiness for many isn’t always the case for those who have lost loved ones
For most, the Christmas holidays are a time of joy and togetherness, a chance to celebrate the year that was and enjoy the company of those around you.

But for some, the holidays are a time of sorrowful memories and sadness, due to the pain of losing someone during the holidays in the past or even in the months leading up to one of the happiest times of the year.

That’s where the GriefShare program, staged by the Minto United Church this past weekend, came into play.

Designed to help people deal with grief at a tough time of the year, the meeting included a video featuring expert advice on dealing the grief along with group discussions and stories about what people are going through and how to cope.

“It’s a one time event to help people deal with all the things that are going on around Christmas, since there are lots of memories around Christmas,” explained event organizer Leone Townend. “We get really good feedback from people, it helps them deal with what’s going on and why they’re feeling like they are and options. And people share, which is really helpful, too, so they know that they’re not the only ones going through this.”

The event was an extension of the more expansive GriefShare programs that take place twice a year in the spring and fall. Each is a 13-week program that features video and discussions similar to the holidays event, only covering more topics and information through the greater amount of time.

“I think any kind of support group that brings people together is helpful,” said Rev. Linda Tomlinson-Seebach with the Minto United Church. “A lot of people become isolated in their grief and tend to stay away. That’s not just at Christmas time, but in day-to-day living, they tend to kind of lock themselves away. So the GriefShare program is based on video, with experts that talk about this.

“Then for me, the big part is the community aspect of all this. We come together in our group and share, hence the name GriefShare.”

A total of 16 people registered for the seminar, with Townend seeing more and more people coming to GriefShare events as word-of-mouth spreads.

“There are people who need the help who are coming out and that’s really good to see,” she said.