Everyone dies, but everyone does not handle death the same way.
That’s why Beloit Regional Hospice offers free grief support groups to adults who need help coping after the death of a loved one, said Britney Mckay, spokesperson for Beloit Regional Hospice.
The groups run for seven weeks and are offered continuously throughout the year, McKay said. Anyone who has experienced loss is welcome.
Beloit Regional Hospice notes some experiences that might indicate the need for a support group:
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits.
- Inability to concentrate, memory loss.
- Anger toward a higher power, such as a pastor or religious figure.
- Emotions including numbness, guilt, anger, panic, fear, resentment, relief, jealousy or depression.
Some individuals want to join a group immediately after a loss, some might take months to be ready, McKay said. They try to offer classes at various times to accommodate anyone’s schedule.
The only common thread in grief is that everyone handles it differently, McKay said.
Nicole Morgan, Grief Support Program Coordinator at the hospice center, takes the first couple weeks of a new group to gauge needs and tailor parts of the program to provide the best support, McKay said.
Grief counseling has been provided at the hospice center since it opened, McKay said.
Staff at Beloit Regional Hospice keep in contact with families after patients’ deaths for 13 months, offering resources and tips for coping with loss, McKay said.
It is important for those in the groups to have an outlet to express feelings, whether it be vocally or creatively through another outlet, McKay said.
People often have an easier time healing when they have a network of people who can relate to their pain, McKay said.
One group of women met at the support group and continued to be friends years after, McKay said.
Two nondenominational chaplains work with the hospice group to provide spiritual support if requested, McKay said. Chaplains will pray, sing scripture or do activities with grievers in whatever spirituality they believe.
Support groups for children, organizational groups or individualized counseling are also offered, McKay said.
The hospice center works with local school districts to provide grief counseling to youth who might not know how to ask for help, McKay said.
Coping skills discussed in support groups include resting, taking time for one’s self, enjoying small pleasures, setting goals, accepting care, having hope and allowing one’s self to backslide, according to the hospice center informational guide.
Watching grievers heal is “a really beautiful thing,” McKay said.