by Beryl Rosenstein, MD, on behalf of the “Grief Gang”
The article on “Lessons on Love and Grieving” in the Spring 2020 issue echoed my own experience with Gilchrist’s grief support—in my case, how the Gilchrist’s Widowed Person/Life Partner Support Group can lead people through the grieving process after the loss of a loved one.
I can recall the evening of January 8, 2013, when nine of us, all coping with the recent loss of a spouse, sat down in an office suite in Hunt Valley for our first meeting with a Gilchrist grief counselor.
We were all strangers pulled together by our losses and the need to navigate the grieving process. We easily related to each other, the chemistry was good and we bonded for what we could not predict would be a rather remarkable journey.
One member of the initial group dropped out, but the remaining five women and three men have continued to meet regularly for more than seven years. Initially, there was sadness and many tears, but over the years they have been replaced by optimism and much joy and laughter.
After the completion of our six grieving sessions, our group has continued to meet every two to three months for rotating potluck home dinners, which eventually transitioned to dinners at local restaurants and an annual in-home holiday dinner party. During COVID-19, we have continued to meet virtually, thanks to Zoom.
Over the years, three members of the group remarried, and we have shared many life events, such as travels, retirements, weddings and births. I don’t know if there are longevity records for grief support groups but ours must be near the top, hopefully for many years to come. We greatly appreciate the role Gilchrist played in launching us on our rewarding journey.
To learn more about Gilchrist Grief Services, visit gilchristcares.org/grief.