Everyone needs a support system, especially when we’ve lost a loved one, to help us as we move through our grief journey. While family and friends are extremely important in the grieving process, sometimes they haven’t experienced what we’re going through and can’t help us in the coping process.
It has become evident that many communities in San Patricio County have been experiencing a lot of deaths lately. Because of these unfortunate events, Jason Lewis, with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, has teamed up with First United Methodist Church, in Sinton, to start a grief support group.
Lewis, a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, has been working to counsel people through tough times for approximately five years. He currently works with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, a company that invest part of their profits into assisting local communities, such as San Patricio County, to provide services to people who can’t afford them.
Sinton is one of the six sites Lewis visits for church-based services. In addition to starting up the grief support group in Sinton, he is, tentatively, looking into developing a support group in Portland, depending on the demand.
The grief support group is planned to begin their sessions on Thursday, Sept. 25, and every Thursday after that, from 5-6:30 p.m. If anyone is interested in being a part of this support group, call Jason Lewis at 361-652-3573. This will be a closed group, and all participants will need to call to enroll.
The first session is always free, according to Lewis. After which, information will be gathered about the person’s finances to determine an ability to pay for the services. “About 80 percent don’t pay; other will pay between $5 and $10 per session,” Lewis said. “It depends on their financial status, but no on has ever been denied services due to an inability to pay.”
Though many people have the idea that if you go to therapy people will judge you, Lewis wants to emphasize that once these reserved people talk to a counselor they realize that the same feelings and emotions they are encountering are happening to others as well. “This is all a part of the grieving process and there is nothing that a person seeking these services should feel ashamed about,” Lewis said.
In a culture that often avoids talking about loss, support groups give you the opportunity to share your story openly and guilt-free. You also have the opportunity to hear the stories of others and talk about coping day-to-day, as well as on the most difficult days of our grief journeys.
If you are looking for a support system in your grief journey, you should consider support groups. You will likely find the following things there:
• Emotional and physical support in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
• Support and understanding from others who have experienced a similar loss.
• The opportunity to begin the healing process through sharing your own story and hearing the stories of others.
• Coping skills to help you through the most difficult days of your grief journey.
• Hope through companionship with people who “get it” and understand first-hand what you’re going through. The opportunity to discover new traditions and ideas to keep loved ones present in your hearts and in your memories.
• Increased understanding of how children and other family members react to loss.
• Permission to grieve and permission to live a happy productive life.
With what seems to be an occurrence of death every week, this grief support group couldn’t come to San Patricio County at a better time. Grief support groups can offer companionship and understanding from others who have experienced a similar loss and are experiencing the challenges brought on by grief. “I just want to impact the community in a positive way,” Lewis stated.