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Parkway Baptist Church hosts GriefShare group

By Morgan Mizell

NATCHEZ — When Kim Kaiser came to GriefShare it had been several years since she had lost her husband.

“I did not think I needed this group because I thought I was moving through my grief fine,” Kaiser said. “But I came because I was invited and I discovered it was exactly what I needed.”

Kaiser said she had tried hard to wear a smile for everyone especially since so many people seem to be uncomfortable with grief.

“There is an attitude in the world about how far along you should be at a certain time with grief,” Kaiser said. “When I got to GriefShare it was refreshing to know I did not have to meet anyone’s expectations and I move thorough this as I move through it and when I can move through it. And people need to know it is never too late to come to a group like this.”

The local GriefShare group at Parkway Baptist Church begins its 13-week fall session at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31.

They will meet every week afterwards from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday.

The local group, which began in 2009, usually hosts two sessions per year and is open to any and all who are dealing with grief regardless of age, creed, race or religion.

Glenn Mizell and his wife Debbie Mizell have been involved since the first session and are two of four group facilitators. They are assisted by husband and wife team Dwight and Linda Arnold.

Glenn said the minister of education asked Debbie to facilitate the first session and it has been going ever since.

“He sat in the first session,” Debbie Mizell said. “From that point on, we just continued and have held two sessions a year since that time.”

The groups, each session, range from 12 – 25 participants.

“We like to stress that we are a grief and loss group,” Dwight Arnold said. “We are not the group who deals with loss from a divorce or anything, but those groups exist.”

According to the GriefShare website, the groups exist to help those who have experienced a loss face the challenges and move toward rebuilding their lives. Each session has three elements: a video seminar with experts, support group discussion with focus and personal study and reflection.

“We have a workbook that we work from and there are usually questions that each person will answer during the week and share with the group, if they want to,” Debbie Mizell said. “We do want people to know, however, they do not have to share if they don’t feel like they are up to it.”

Debbie feels some people have such a difficult time even making it to the group that it is important for them to not feel pressured about having to share until they are ready.

“We have had participants who have found it difficult to get out of their cars and come in the building,” Debbie Mizell said. “We don’t want to push anyone and we want them to know that everything they say stays in this room. We have to establish that trust with everyone so people will feel safe and comfortable enough to share.”

While the facilitators have all been through the program before, they all feel like they learn something new every time they help with the sessions.

“We are here to help people walk through their grief,” Glenn Mizell said. “When someone experiences a loss, especially of a spouse, the initial feeling is that you are losing your mind because it all seems so abnormal. You find yourself looking for them and they are not there. You get in the passenger side of the car and they are not there to drive.”

Members of the group agreed that people can sometimes, without meaning to, be a little less than sympathetic to someone’s grief.

“Employers usually allow three days off for the loss of an immediate family member,” Debbie Mizell said. “Sometimes you may feel you need something closer to three months. No two people grieve the same and there is no time-limit on grief.”

There is no grief that is more important than another. The loss of a spouse does not rank more important that the loss of someone’s parent or child.

“We are not teachers,” Linda Arnold said. “We are just here to help and we have all experienced a loss.”

When Kim Kaiser came to GriefShare it had been several years since she had lost her husband.

 

“I did not think I needed this group because I thought I was moving through my grief fine,” Kaiser said. “But I came because I was invited and I discovered it was exactly what I needed.”

Kaiser said she had tried hard to wear a smile for everyone especially since so many people seem to be uncomfortable with grief.

“There is an attitude in the world about how far along you should be at a certain time with grief,” Kaiser said. “When I got to GriefShare it was refreshing to know I did not have to meet anyone’s expectations and I move thorough this as I move through it and when I can move through it. And people need to know it is never too late to come to a group like this.”

After Dwight Arnold lost his first wife to a brain deteriorating disease, he faced people who thought he should be relieved of the care-taking burden; however, he found it difficult.

“People try to hurry you after you have a loss like this when you have cared for someone everyday,” Arnold said. “It took us two years to find out what she had and another five years to pass away. I remember the doctor telling me that all I could do was take her home and love her and take care of her because today would be the best day of the rest of her life. Every day got a little worse.”

Arnold said people try to rush you because they want to see you in better spirits and they may think you should be better and it doesn’t work that way.

Linda Arnold, who lost her parents in the 90’s said while she did not have GriefShare at the time, she understood how useful the program like this can be for anyone dealing with a loss.

Mizell said they do not recommend the group for children, she suggested someone be at least 18 or 19 years old.

“There are many different tools GriefShare provides for people to help them deal with different situations they may encounter,” Debbie Mizell said. “There are helpful sections about how parents can talk to their kids after the loss of another parent.”

The group encourages people to come and try a session.

“We are all equal here,” Debbie Mizell said. “We just want people to come and try at least three sessions.”

The only fee the group has is $15.00 for a workbook, but the group doesn’t want anyone to be discouraged about the fee.

“If someone thinks they cannot come because they can’t afford the book,” Debbie Mizell said. “There are scholarships for the book if they need it.”

Glenn Mizell said the groups have grown into a sort of family and he said even after the sessions are over, they all meet once a month to go out for dinner.

Anyone who is looking for more information about the program can contact Debbie Mizell by email, debbie.mizell@yahoo.com or contact the Parkway Church Office, (601) 442-7434. Individuals can look up GriefShare at www.griefshare.org.

 

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