What Happens on a Night of Support
Families arrive at Good Grief, where pizza, water, coffee and tea are provided for all participants.
Opening Circle: Families gather in the Circle Room to begin the night. A large circle is formed, and a “talking stick” is passed around and each person shares his/her name and who died. This is an important ritual for families to regularly see, hear and know that they are not alone in their grief. Opening Circle also provides a safe space for participants (perhaps for the first time) to share their grief aloud in front of a group. This is particularly important to break the trend of silence and stigma around grief that so often takes place in the lives of the bereaved.
7:00 – 8:15 pm
Group time: This is the time when participants meet in their respective peer groups, and have an opportunity to share their stories and provide one another with support. An activity designed to provide education and facilitate discussion is offered in the children and teen groups. The adult groups engage in conversation about a variety of relevant topics raised by participants or their facilitators.
Children and teens are also given an opportunity to engage in age-appropriate play, giving them a chance to have an outlet for their energy and feelings. We provide the children’s groups with time to play in our Volcano Room, where they can actively express their feelings and emotions in a fully padded room! Teens meet in our Teen Center where they have their own lounge, providing them with a space to hang out and spend time with one another.
Closing Circle: Families gather again in the Circle Room to end the evening. Families are invited to share a birthday and/or an anniversary of the person who died so that we can acknowledge important dates and remember them as a community. If it is the birthday of a participant, we celebrate them by singing “Happy Birthday” and acknowledge joy and happiness that still exists in life after loss. To cap off the night, the whole group engages in a hand squeeze or elbow bump, reminding everyone at the end of the night that we are all connected and supporting one another even as we go.