Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 29, 2007
Sharing one's story helps process of grief
Sherwood Park parish ministry will help parishioners grieve
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"Part of grief is telling the story over and over and over."
- Jocelyne Roy
OLPH's grief ministry was terminated in 2005 after 10 years, largely due to "lack of response." Now the parish is restarting it at the request of parishioners who have recently suffered losses, said pastoral assistant Sandra King.
King and pastoral assistant Lucille Rezac will oversee the grief ministry, which will consist of at least three month-long series a year. They hired Roy to facilitate the series, the first of which will be held in November.
Interest is so high "we already have enough people to run another session in January or February," added King.
Whether the program will become a permanent ministry will depend on Roy's schedule as well as parishioners' interest, she said.
About 50 people die annually at OLPH and many of those affected by these losses have been invited to participate.
Until now King and Rezac, both of whom assist with funeral preparation at OLPH, have referred grieving people to counsellors in the County of Strathcona. People sometimes come to them for advice and they do what they can.
"But we are not counsellors; we are pastoral assistants," King said. "We can listen but if we understand that the person maybe needs more than just us then we would suggest they see a counsellor."
Roy has topics in mind for the November sessions.
"We are going to talk about the early stages of grief when people are shell- shocked. As we progress through the grief experience we will address some of the normal grief processes, the different feelings - like anger, depression and loss of identity. Then we will be talking about the spiritual dimension," she explained.
"Your grieving is among the most sacred and the most human thing you will ever do," she added, quoting from a book on grief. "It will plummet you into the mysteries of life."
Roy and the OLPH group will also talk about loneliness and "how part of coming through grief is beginning to see what I have left and where I can go from here."
If participants want to continue in some way "we can look at that possibility," Roy said. "Hopefully it'll give some way they can continue to find the support that they need if they need ongoing support."
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