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Fitzgibbon to begin Grief Recovery Program

November 28, 2018

Grief and loss are emotions that every one of us experience at some point in our lives. Whether that loss comes from the death or illness of a loved one, the dissolution of a marriage or the financial pressures that so many experience during the holidays and year round. While these types of grief and loss are frequently remembered, there are actually over 40 types of grief and loss that people experience. Those interested in learning about grief and loss and joining a free 8-week Grief Recovery Program at Fitzgibbon Hospital can learn more through an informational meeting to be presented from 6 – 7 p.m. on Monday, January 7th in the upstairs classroom suite at Fitzgibbon Hospital.

“Sometimes this life is hard to navigate when things change, whether the change was a choice we made, or a choice that was made for us,” says Richard DeFord, Board Certified Chaplain with Fitzgibbon Hospital and Fitzgibbon Mary Montgomery Hospice. “We think of the big grief causes like death or divorce, but there are so many more. The loss of a pet, the loss of health. Even such normally positive experiences like becoming newly married or graduating from school can provide a sense of loss because there are big changes from what was to what is. That is hard to get your mind around.”

DeFord recently attended a grief recovery certification training in Oklahoma City and emerged as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. His training was provided by gifts to the Fitzgibbon Mary Montgomery Hospice Memorial Fund for the creation of a Grief Recovery Program.

“The problem with many grievers is that we are trying to rationalize our grief with our heads, but grief is an emotion experienced by a broken or hurting heart. Well-meaning people say things like, “time heals all wounds,” or “just get busy and the grief will take care of itself.” While those things sound good, and may even be something for the mind to think about, it doesn’t help the heart that cries out, “I will never be the same again,” or “I don’t feel like getting out of bed let alone getting busy,” said DeFord.

The grief recovery program at Fitzgibbon Hospital will last eight weeks and will be repeated regularly throughout the year. This is not a “drop in” program, meaning that the group that is formed in session one will remain intact for the full eight weeks with no new additions. Once the eight week cycle is complete, a plans will begin to begin a new group.

“We do this because we really want people to be committed to the process for a set amount of time and we want the friendships and support that come out of this program to truly be about recovery,” said DeFord. “We all have known groups that seem to go on indefinitely and it is hard to jump into them or to know when to step back out again.”

Throughout the Grief Recovery Program, attendees will work together in small groups through several preplanned, evidence-based exercises that will work to move them to a new place in their understanding of their grief. Paired with weekly reading assignments in the class’ textbook, The Grief Recovery Handbook (provided free to attendees), the group will learn a process that can be applied in virtually any grief struggle. 

“What we want people to realize is that grief is an absolutely normal response to a loss. We don’t grieve well in our culture because we are taught to be strong and hide our grief from others. But in doing that, we see a whole culture of people who struggle silently and it comes out in less than desirable behaviors in day to day living. This Grief Recovery Program is our attempt as an organization to help those who will seek it,” said DeFord

The free, one hour information session will be held from 6-7 p.m. on January 7th in the upstairs Classroom Suite at Fitzgibbon Hospital located at 2305 S. 65 Highway in Marshall. In this information meeting, attendees will learn some of the “head” things they need to know about grief and how the grief recovery method can help them. The first actual session will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, January 14th, also in the upstairs classroom suite. Attendance of the grief information meeting and subsequent group sessions is free, underwritten by memorial funds contributed to Fitzgibbon Mary Montgomery Hospice. To learn more, contact Richard DeFord at (660)831-3235.