Grief and Healing Support Group offered to public

Published 6:26 pm Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dr. Mike Lewis, chaplain at Southerncare Hospice in Selma, has been leading a Grief and Healing Support Group since November as a way to bring people together that are dealing with the loss of a loved one and help them through the tough times.

“We started it in November because we had relatives and friends and acquaintances of people who had passed away who were dealing with grief at different levels and finding new ways to cope with their griefs,” Lewis said. “We thought it was time to offer this support group.”

The group meets once a month on the third Wednesday at the Vaughan Community Health Service Room at Vaughan Place from 10:30 a.m. until noon.

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“We all take time sharing with one another, and we have an educational component,” Lewis said. “I usually try to bring something for them to try to understand stages of grief.”

Lewis said more than just talking about the struggles, the participants are able to get to know each other and provide support for people going through similar circumstances.

“It’s just a chance to be in community with other people who might be going through some of the same grief journeys as others,” Lewis said. “People get to know each other and they get to care about each other. It’s a place to belong.”

Lewis said the group talks about the stages of grief, coping mechanisms, how grief affects people in their daily lives and different ways that they can reach out to each other that helps them as well as getting reorientated after losing someone.

“So many people are dealing with grief because they have lost loved ones, and sometimes it can be as a result of sudden disease or crime or many different ways, so for the first time, people are having to cope with a loss that they were not prepared for,” Lewis said.

“But even if people have been expecting their loved one to die for a long time, it’s still very hard once it actually happens. So they find themselves in a whole new phase of life that they’re unfamiliar with and most of the time unprepared for. So it really helps to be in a place where people understand.”

Lewis said he has a background with support groups, even running a cancer support group in Birmingham before moving back to Selma after a loved one passed away.

The group is open to anyone that wants to attend at no charge and refreshments are provided. There is no time limit on how long someone can stay in the group.

“People can come and participate for as long or short as they feel a need for it,” Lewis said.

Those wanting to participate or that would like more information can contact Lewis at (334) 526-4414.