By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Healing through shared experiences is the goal of an upcoming grief support program in Tarboro.
“It’s for anyone that has experienced the loss of a loved one,” said the Rev. Anna Perry, chaplain and bereavement coordinator for Community Home Care & Hospice. “People who participate in support groups generally find it to be comforting and helpful…Sharing our stories is powerful in how we heal and move forward.”
Perry will lead the grief support sessions, which will be held at The Fountains at the Albemarle, a local assisted living center.
“We’re trying to fill a need for the local area,” said Terri Horton, social services coordinator for the Fountains at the Albemarle. “It’ll provide an avenue for grief recovery.”
The grief series will be set up workshop style, with a different topic of discussion every session.
“I feel like it will address a lot of different issues related to grief and we hope the community will support it by their presence,” Horton said.
The workshops will be held from 6-7 p.m. once a month for five months beginning Thursday. The topic of the first session is “What to Expect,” Sept. 12 is “Basics of Grief,” Oct. 10 is “Hard Losses, Good Mourning,” Nov. 7 is “Living with Memories,” and Dec. 5 is “How do you know you are feeling better?”
Those attending the class are welcome to share as much or as little about their personal experience with grief as they feel comfortable sharing. Tears are welcome, said Perry, and tissues will be provided.
The minister has had personal experience with what she calls “unresolved grief” and the ways it can manifest itself in a person’s life. At the age of 3-years-old, she had to cope with the death of her 5-year-old brother.
“Our family just simply did not talk about it, but I don’t think that that’s healthy,” Perry said. “It’s important to share those feelings. Otherwise it just gets buried deep within you.”
It wasn’t until Perry became a psychology major in college and later went through the self-discovery journey of becoming a minister that she began to process some of that grief.
“There was just an unspoken sadness, a heaviness. It’s a heaviness in your heart,” Perry said. It was that experience that led Perry to want to help others process their grief. Unresolved grief can manifest itself in many different ways, such as anger, dependencies, abuse, depression.
“Therefore, talking with others allows those feelings to surface so that the healing can begin,” Perry said. “It can very lonely to try to deal with on your own.”
The timing of the grief sessions is important, because people who have lost a loved one often have a difficult time around the holidays, because special occasions trigger a “grief response,” said Perry. Her aim is to provide grief session participants with “healthy ways to cope” and help them work through their own personal grieving process.
The grief support sessions are free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged. The Fountains at the Albemarle is at 200 Trade St. For more information about the class or to register, contact Perry at 442-4918.