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Noblesville First United Methodist’s Grief Recovery Support Groups Are Changing Lives

Writer  /  Megan Jefferson
Photography Provided

Carol Miller, Parish Care Coordinator, is a facilitator of GriefShare programming at Noblesville First United Methodist Church. In 2012, a couple from her church lost their 20-year old son and were looking for grief counseling. They found a program at another church and were so impressed with how much it helped them, together with Miller, they started a GriefShare program at their own church.

There are thousands of GriefShare recovery support groups meeting throughout the US, Canada and in more than 10 other countries. GriefShare seminars and support groups are led by facilitators who understand the grieving process and want to help. The program includes a video component that includes experts speaking about different aspects of grief, a workbook that participants use and home and small discussion groups at the meetings.

Miller says everyone’s grief is important and every person’s experience of grief is different. The most important thing to offer someone who is grieving is just to listen. She says there’s no need to feel pressured to say anything inspirational, just listen. The most important action one who is grieving needs to take it head-on.

“We talk about how you can’t go over, under or around grief, Miller says. “You must go through it.”

If grief is not dealt with, it will, at some point, come back.

“It’s not easy work, there are nights we walk out in tears,” Miller says. “But when we see these people blossom and grow it’s just amazing.”

All the facilitators at Noblesville First have experienced grief in some way. Miller knows how difficult the grieving process is, first hand. She lost her entire family she grew up with.

“Through the GriefShare process, we learn that our loved ones are never forgotten,” Miller says. “We learn to be very thankful for the memories and the time we had with them. “We also learn to look forward to new beginnings.”

The program also helps participants realize that what they’re experiencing is normal. Participants learn to accept that they will get through the difficult grieving process and they will get better. Miller says that being with others who understand, who will listen and who will accept their tears, has a huge impact.

“For us facilitators, it is a blessing to see people transform within the 13-week program,” Miller says. “We have seen people’s lives changed. We have seen them come from remorse, anger, fear and very deep in their grief to become accepting of their new position and a become new person.”

Participants are welcome to join at any point of the program.

Noblesville First also offers a Divorce Care program which is a 13-week program, structured in the same way as GriefShare. The church will be offering a Surviving the Holidays program for both groups, too. This is a one-night program and will provide ideas of how to get through the holidays when your life has drastically changed.

Visit griefshare.org/countries/us/states/in/cities/noblesville to learn more about the program and when classes meet.

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