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Bereavement support groups offer help coping with grief

KENDALLVILLE, IND. – Jan. 25, 2024 – When a loved one passes away, grief can be bewildering and isolating. While each person experiences grief in their own way, getting support to help you understand your grief and find companionship with others dealing with similar struggles can be important in helping you navigate your feelings and move forward.

Parkview Hospice counselors facilitate bereavement support groups across the area. Any community member who has experienced the loss of a loved one, recently or longer ago, and is seeking a compassionate, supportive environment in which to heal is welcome to attend.

The groups focus on concepts in the book, “Understanding Your Grief,” by noted author, educator and grief counselor Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Wolfelt’s exploration of grief, self-compassion and practical steps toward healing has been a helpful guide for thousands of people nationwide. Wolfelt is founder and director of the Center for Loss & Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Support group members will receive a free copy of the book, which they will read and discuss during the meetings as they explore the normal emotional responses to illness and death and ways to cope.

Groups meet 4 – 5:30 p.m. in LaGrange, DeKalb and Noble counties.

The LaGrange County support group meets on Tuesdays through Mar. 12, at First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Michigan St., LaGrange.

The DeKalb County support group meets on Wednesdays through Mar. 13, at Miller’s Merry Manor, 1367 S. Randolph St., Garrett.

The Noble County support group meets on Thursdays through Mar. 14, at the Kendallville Public Library, 221 S. Park Ave., Kendallville.

In addition, a Steuben County location has been added at the Stroh Church of Christ, 4540 S. 1100 W., Hudson. Anyone attending this support group should enter door 2 and go to Room 208. Meetings take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesdays until Mar. 13.

Experienced hospice social workers encourage group members on their grief journey. Rev. Ken Weaver, LCSW, LMFT, hospice chaplain, and Cathy Petrie, LCSW, bereavement counselor, have led support groups together in Noble and LaGrange counties for 15 years. Petrie is joined by Angela Beer-Walker, LCSW, hospice social worker, in facilitating the Garrett group.

Past participants in Understanding Your Grief meetings have had these and similar comments on their experience:
           • “It helped me share with my family and friends what I was going through. It helped with my deep
             depression. I didn’t feel alone in my grief.”

           • “It gave me a safe place to express my thoughts, anxieties and feelings.”

           • “I am so glad I made the decision to attend. It gave me tools – the book and my leaders – to help
             me work through my feelings. It was nice to be with others who knew exactly what you were feeling.
             I truly enjoyed that connection. They were very kind and thoughtful. They listened with no judgments.”

To enroll in the LaGrange, DeKalb, Noble or Steuben group or ask questions, call 800-292-9894.

Bereavement support groups are also available in Allen and Huntington counties on an ongoing basis.

The Allen County group meets 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month in the PACH Conference Room at Parkview Randallia Hospital, 2200 Randallia Drive, Fort Wayne. Participants should use ground floor entrance 2 to access the PACH room.

The Huntington County group meets 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month in the Parkview Home Health office at 2806 Theater Avenue, Suite A, Huntington.

For information about the Allen or Huntington County groups or other bereavement support, call 260-373-9800 or toll free 800-363-9977.