Epilogue to “How You Debrief Grief”: A Lunch ‘n Learn Program with the Wesley Nurse of Mason

submitted by Ann Scarth, RN
Wesley Nurse, Mason, Texas 

Grief is the emotional suffering that is felt after a loss of some kind and can be triggered for a variety of reasons: the death of a loved one, the onset of a serious medical condition or even an intense disappointment. People are so often unprepared for grief—even when an event is predicted. Like so many other small rural towns, Mason’s population has matured and in recent months, it seems we have suffered a rash of loss in our community. As a result, caregivers are left feeling overwhelmed and isolated.

On January 26, I formed a partnership with Patrick Loring, M.S., L.P.C., the bereavement coordinator for Odyssey Hospice located in Kerrville, Texas. Together, we developed a Lunch ‘n Learn program titled, “How You Debrief Grief.” The program was an instant success with over 20 people in attendance.

After the initial meeting, I asked participants to contact me if they were interested in forming a local grief support group in Mason. The response was immense. A flood a respondents contacted me with a resounding request, “we want our own grief support group.” In response, the first of the bimonthly group meeting was held on February 7, in a small, intimate room at the First United Methodist Church in Mason.

So far, a number of participants have joined the group – all dealing with some form of grief or trauma. Some have suffered a sudden, unexpected loss; others are caregivers looking for support. The group has even attracted survivors eager to offer guidance and affirmation to participants.

We have shared memories, tears, pictures of our loved ones and laughter—yes, laughter has crept in on occasion and it really lit up our room with much needed encouragement and release. Feelings have emerged and emotions have been explored. The sentiment is palpable when you hear one participant say to another, “Your spouse was such a dear person and a real pillar of our community.” Participants are beginning to learn that grief is actually a healing process that is normal and healthy.

The grief support group meets at noon on the first and third Tuesday of each month in the conference room at the First United Methodist Church of Mason (224 Broad Street Mason, Texas). Participants are encouraged to bring a sack lunch; beverages and dessert are provided.

For more information, please call Ann Scarth, RN at (325) 347-5983.