The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences life holds in store for human beings. The ones that stay behind have to somehow deal with the new situation. Different people use different strategies on how to move on with their lives. However, they do not have to do it alone.
Army Community Services’ peer-led Bereavement Support Group can be of great help.
“I started it because when I was 15, my mother committed suicide,” said Mary Cheney, ACS volunteer program coordinator. “When you have suffered a loss that can be very isolating. So, I wanted to be able to have people come to a safe place where they could work through the grieving process with other people who are in similar situations.”
It is an unstructured group, Federica LeMauk, Survivor Outreach Services program manager, said. What is important to the group is what determines the content of the conversation. At the same time, they also have activities such as art therapy, games or just meals together.
“Rock painting is cathartic,” LeMauk said. “I like it because painting helps a lot. But for many people staring at a canvas can be intimidating. But if you start with something smaller … it’s much easier. This act of concentrating on colors and shapes makes it easier to talk about feelings and experiences and to make connections.”
“Mindful movement,” a kind of yoga for people who have suffered trauma, is planned for October or November. “It can be described as ‘personal-level yoga,’” Cheney said. “You can do it on the floor or in a chair. It depends on what the participants are comfortable with.”
Each participant of the group signs a confidentiality statement. “What happens in the group, stays in the group,” Cheney said.
The group is inclusive and aimed for anybody who has suffered a loss, no matter who they lost, LeMauk emphasized.
The Bereavement Support Group meets every Monday (instead of formerly Tuesday) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Volunteer Hub, Texasstrasse, Bldg. 7790, Stairwell 57, Apt. 4 on Hainerberg. For more information, contact Cheney at email@example.com, LeMauk at firstname.lastname@example.org or ACS at (0611)143-548-9201.