When someone close to us dies, we all go through a grieving process, but when that person chose to end their own life, the process can be much more difficult. Those who have lost someone close to them from suicide may suffer from guilt, stigma, anger and disconnection.
"With any death there is also a need for the survivors to find meaning in their loss," Nancy Renner, a bereavement coordinator for Hospice of the Prairie said. "With suicide that can be difficult."
Because dealing with the loss of a loved one from suicide can be so difficult Hospice of the Prairie will host Pathways, a support group for those who have been affected. Six sessions are scheduled every Monday from Feb. 25 through April 1. Each session will take place at the Hospice of the Prairie office at 200 Fourth Circle. They ask that those planning on attending call their office at (620) 227-7209 so they can order supplies needed. The group is free but there is a small fee for two books that will be used. If you need financial assistance Hospice of the Prairie will be happy to assist you.
"We wanted to provide a way for those people who are dealing with the loss of someone from suicide to come together and support each other and learn about the unique type of grief they are experiencing," Renner said. "This support group is for anyone who has been affected," she added, "whether they lost a friend, co-worker, family member or loved one."
The group will be facilitated by Jerry Hodges, a grief counselor for Hospice of the Prairie, and will utilize a book and journal specifically related to suicide grief.
"We want this support group to be a safe place for people to come and feel comfortable sharing their feelings and emotions," Hodges said, "but also a place for them to honor the person they lost and tell their story."
Pathways was also held last spring and the response from the community was positive according to both Renner and Hodges. By being a part of the support group people were able to see that what they were feeling and what they were going through wasn't unusual. Instead, there were other people experiencing the exact same thing. Hodges said that many people can feel alone when dealing with suicide grief, and coming to the group helped them connect to others.
"Participants won't all start at the same point in the grieving process when the support group begins," Hodges said, "and when it ends they won't necessarily be done grieving. But we hope that through this group they'll be able to find a path through the grieving process and see that they are not alone in these feelings."
About Hospice of the Prairie
According to their website, Hospice of the Prairie & Prairie Home Health is an independent, not-for-profit agency dedicated to serving the residents of Southwestern Kansas since 1981. In addition to their services for the terminally ill they also provide several resources for their family and friends. They provide free grief counseling for anyone in the community who needs their services, including counseling for children. They also host a remembrance service twice a year for community members to honor and remember those they've lost. Several seminars are held throughout the year as well. For more information about Hospice of the Prairie and the services they offer call (620) 227-7209.
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