Benefits of Grief Support Groups

After the loss of a loved one, we experience a wide variety of feelings and emotions. The ever-changing emotions we experience with grief can catch us off guard, causing us to  act out of character, or differently than our typical personality and demeanor.

We all need a support system to help us as we move through our grief journey. While family and friends are vital, unless they have experienced a close personal loss, they most likely don’t fully “get it.” That is where support groups can become a valuable resource. In a support group, you will find 10 or so new comrades also living life after loss.

Grief support groups offer companionship and understanding from others who have experienced a similar loss, and are experiencing the similar challenges that living with grief brings.

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.

In the resources section of Hello Grief, you can search for local resources by state, including support groups.

The most important thing is – take care of yourself. Should you choose to do so by seeking out the support of a grief group, or
connecting one-on-one with a counselor or therapist, remember to take care of yourself. Grief is a life-long journey. Continue to seek out the resources you need to live a healthy, happy life.

32 Comments:

  1. joyce said on June 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm ... #

    I heard this topic and organization over NPR yesterday. I am a 73 yr woman whose father died when I was 8 mo. old. I always sort of felt I did not deserve to grieve a loss since I never ‘knew my father’, but I have always carried a lump in this heart of mine for not knowing him. I also suffered the loss of my 37 yr son 17yrs ago, then I knew that grieving was a very long journey that never ends. My life continues but in a different perception than others I think.

  2. Alex said on October 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm ... #

    I am in the 8th grade, and in one of my classes we had to pick a career that we might be interested in. I think I would like to be a grief counselor when I grow up because I lost my dad almost 2 years ago. He was 36 years old, and it was four days after my 12th birthday. Still, after 2 years, I still deal with the grief and lose. It is very hard. I think about him everyday of my life. I was a “daddy’s little girl”, and he is up there waiting on me to be with him again.

  3. AngelaDivino said on February 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm ... #

    My teenage son died of cancer Oct 2011 need alot of support cannot sleep at not but in the day i good but i night i m restless keep hearing his voice i need support to get over the pain. I WISH I COULD SAVE HIM

  4. Kristi Mathison said on May 7, 2012 at 10:09 am ... #

    My Mom died three years ago in a nursing home. We were very close. I went to a couple grief support groups after she died. My two older sisters and older brother act like they aren’t grieving. My grief returned after I moved into a new,much smaller apartment. I hear some of my church friends telling me to be ‘happy and joyful’ but I am grieving and feel depressed. They don’t want to understand. I think I may need another grief support group. Help.

  5. Ethan Pariseau said on May 8, 2012 at 12:59 am ... #

    Similar to the comment posted above by Kristi, I lost my mother on May 12th, 2010. I think of her often and dream of her at times. I lost my best friend to suicide in 2007. Two of my fellow soldiers in 2005. I lost my father in 2000, my grandmother in 1999, my grandfather in 1998. There have been many times I have struggled with depression but have always found a reason to go on.

  6. pat said on May 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm ... #

    I LOST THREE KIDS AND MY HUBSAND IN A YEAR.THE PAIN I FELL IS UNREAL. PLEASE HELP ME.

  7. Jo Toomata said on June 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm ... #

    I lost my father on May 15th 2011. I have never dealt with his death. I was there when he passed. There have been some really important things in my life that I wanted him there with me. It hurts that he could not be there especially for my daughter’s wedding. He was very close to both of my daughters. I think of him often. He knew alot of things. He was always there for my sisters, brother and I. I know life moves on but it still hurts that he is gone.

  8. Ruby said on July 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm ... #

    I lost my son 2011. I found him in his bathroom.we were so close.He was just retired at 50 had just started a new life.I think of him everyday.I pass out often because of the stress.I can’t go on with out him. how do I cope with his passing.Please help me.

  9. Melissa said on August 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm ... #

    I lost my grandparents and my dog I had for 14 years in less than a year. My grandmother just died Memorial Day 2012. I just can’t function in life right now and I don’t feel I have the support I need. Nobody wants to be around a “downer”, angry depressed person. Everybody just wants to be around the positive perky people. Sorry but I just can’t slap on the fake smile face and tell people everything is ok just to make them more comfortable. I feel very alone with my grief.

  10. Jane said on August 20, 2012 at 4:16 am ... #

    I lost my husband almost 2 years ago. I never had the time to grieve because I had to make a living and support my son. Nobody seems to really understand what I am going through. I miss him so much. But there is no place to turn to share these feelings and I want to be strong for my child who is only 13 years old.

  11. Jess said on August 23, 2012 at 1:01 am ... #

    Omg…I wish didn’t have to deal with death. But the fact. Is we all are going to die one day. We have to have faith in god keep moving on. I lost my mom in 1995, my brother in 2004′ my other brother in 2008 then my dad in march 2012, now my 28 yrs old nephews. I am not able to sleep. I have 3 little kids…so mammy have to strong and make it through. I really feel for my sister in who lost her only son.

  12. cindy said on August 27, 2012 at 12:46 am ... #

    good morning I have been fighting a divorce I did not want and then afterwards we were still together often on he was my soulmate everything I dreamed of and live for he came down with leukemia in June of 2012 and had 2 months the only made it to July 2012 his children tried to keep me from him even though he wanted me to they were with him during the day but I spent the night care for him at home and they took him to the hospital when he finally did pass away they refuse let me see the body had an autopsy performed desecrating his body they only gave me a few hours doing at the funeral home and then tried to 90 access to the funeral I was with him long enough for him to raise my 2 children ages 5 to 26 we were all crushed but denied are grief I hate to hear just get over it that isn’t going to happen I will have to go through the steps myself I just got another grand baby that makes 5 altogether so I don’t feel so much like to join him the learning how to keep him in my life and still going on with my life any suggestions we who love and can’t stop are blessed and cursed

  13. Andrea Hoover said on November 5, 2012 at 2:07 am ... #

    I recently lost my mother age 57 :-( this is the most tragic loss one could endure. She died in her sleep due to 2 clogged arteries that the docs never looked for. I have had many deaths in my family but this has effected me so deeply. I don’t know how to cope sometimes. I haven’t been to church since June when my mom passed. I am struggling with my faith although I do not blame God at all.

  14. Christina Orr said on November 17, 2012 at 4:24 am ... #

    In December 2011 my whole world came crashing down. I knew my mom was sick but I honestly thought she could beat the cancer like she did in 2008.
    I’m 23 years old but it feels like I’m still that 17 yrold kid finding out that mom has cancer and realizing my life will never be the same again. I just graduated high school and had big dreams of going off to college, but that never happened. Even though I’m the youngest child all the responsibilities of taking care of mom landed on me.
    In 2010 I wanted to take my life back and enrolled in a few college courses. As soon as it came time to get serious about school the cancer came back. I was constantly missing classes and important tests to take her to the hospital or even just to visit with her while she was in there.
    Now she’s gone but I’m deeply depressed and haven’t had the strength to return to college. I just want her to be proud of me but half the time I can’t even get out of bed.

  15. Tammy said on January 29, 2013 at 10:24 am ... #

    My dad past away on October 28,2012 at 4:58am. It happened fast my aunt called me around 1 in the morning and told me that the nursing home my dad lived at was sending him to the hospital. She called back and told me that they got him stable and that we don’t need to go up till later. Well at 5:15am my aunt called and told me that he died. That’s when my world came crashing down. I’m struggling to go on. On February 7,2003 our mom past away. It’s going to be 10yrs since shes been gone. I don’t think I grieved for mom because I was busy taking care of dad. Well now it seems that I have no purpose to go on. My niece is going to have twin boys in may so I guess I have that to look forward to. I love and miss you mom and dad so much.

  16. Marcy said on February 22, 2013 at 3:17 am ... #

    I lost my Dad about 2 weeks ago. I know he was suffering and I did not want to see him hurting. He was 78. But he was my Daddy and it feels so sad inside. I know I will see him again some day in Heaven.

  17. Gloria J Duke said on March 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm ... #

    I’d like to share with those who are grieving that your loved ones live on in spirit and can actually see what is happening in our lives. I have been given miraculous proof of that. God wants to calm the frustrations and heal the pain of all types of loss. Find out more information by going to http://www.frommourningtomorning.com and see asking God to reveal the mysteries of life and viewing them from a celestial perspective can be very healing.

  18. Lauren said on June 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm ... #

    I lost my husband of 48 years on Jan 2013. It was a sudden death. I have had many deaths in my family, my mother in 2002 and a grandson in 2006 as well as aunts, uncles nephews, brother-in-laws and a sister-in-law. I feel as though my grief for my husband will never end, I cry for him everyday. People tell me it just takes time, which I know is probably true. But until you go through this painful experience, you can’t imagine what its like. I am trying to cope.

  19. Eve said on July 29, 2013 at 12:46 am ... #

    My boyfriend passed away on March 10, 2009. We were there for each other through a lot; both our family situations were rough at the time and we were each other’s confidants. I never really talked to anyone about it, and maybe that’s where I went wrong because now I don’t really talk to anyone about anything; maybe because he was the one I told things to and we had that trust between us. Four years later, and I thought I was okay, that I’d moved on. But earlier today I was rifling through some old things and I found an old geometry packet from back when we were in sixth grade and it had notes and messages that we had scribbled back and forth I guess. It was like something snapped. Suddenly it feels like I need to talk; like I need to say something; like I didn’t learn how to say goodbye and nobody ever realized they needed to teach me. I don’t know what to do because I realize I’ve shut everyone out and now that I need someone there, I’m alone.

  20. Laura Koch said on September 3, 2013 at 2:39 am ... #

    I would like to join your group… very much so!

  21. waiswa saul said on October 7, 2013 at 5:10 am ... #

    I agree with the need for support groups most espeiclly when there is loss, trauma, chronic illness and the like.
    Thank you somuch for the article. Am a student of counselling and psychology in Uganda.

  22. Jane boc said on October 14, 2013 at 12:19 am ... #

    IIn July I was told my husband of 53 yrs. has Alzheimer’s , because of the type of Alzheimer’s he has we cannot be together. I would like to meet another woman or husband going through the same thing T am. after so manny years I miss him. Not use to be alone, this is he’ll! If you are not going through something like this, it is hard to understand,

  23. Candace said on November 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm ... #

    I lost my only brother July 4 2013 haven’t been able to see his son just feel helpless and lost miss him more and more everyday his birthday is Christmas dont want to celebrate the holidays but I do have children not sure how iam feeling its different everyday. I don’t no what to do is it ok to move in with life without my brother

  24. Ann said on November 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm ... #

    In July 1998 when I was 19yrs my dad passed away suddenly after suffering a stroke . He was hospitalised for about 2 weeks before he passed away . During his stay in hospital I was confident he’d pull through and be back home with us in no time . But sadly all my hopes were crushed the day he passed away on the 10th of July . I was devastated because I was very close to my dad . I just couldn’t imagine life without my dad . From that day onwards my life changed . I took comfort in knowing that my mum , brother & two younger sisters were around . We were there for each other until march 2001 when my brother was murdered . I broke down but this time I had to try and be strong to help my mum deal with it since I was now the oldest child with two younger sisters . It was worse cause nobody knew exactly what happened to him & we still haven’t found any answers today 12yrs later . I’ve been trying to deal with it but I can’t , I don’t know how . I tried again to comfort myself because my mum & sisters were there and we tried to support each other until in April 2013 one of my sisters passed away . I just feel helpless . I even dread socialising with my mates because my life feels so different to everybody’s . I’ve nothing exciting about my life to relate to . All I’ve known over the years is grief & heartache . Sometimes I just feel like nobody around me understands my pain & I try to suppress my emotions .

  25. Pam said on January 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm ... #

    I’m sitting here reading all of your stories and my heart aches for you all. My best friend died suddenly in April 2013, she was my touchstone and I feel lost without her, she was 43 years old with a wonderful husband and two boys aged 10 and 12. I am very close to her boys and talk with them every day, it’s just heart breaking. you go on with your life as best you can but the thing is, nothing feels safe anymore. You realise that life is so fragile and in a second it can change, never to be the same again. She was the most important person in my life, my anchor, a person who kept me afloat through the most challenging time in my life, and now she’s gone. I’m doing my best to carry on and be there for her kids and family, I don’t want to be less of a person for having had this beautiful girl in my life, but it’s not an easy road. I know in my heart that we, and I mean all of you out there, will get to a place where we can live with our loved ones memory in our hearts and the pain won’t be so intense. We have to love and let ourselves be loved, look to the future and live each day as best we can. Much love to all of you

  26. Chloe said on February 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm ... #

    My husband passed away from non Hodgkin’s lymphoma,in October 2012. He fought it for a year and a half, I have never seen anyone so strong! I took him to every doctors appt, sat next to him for every chemo treatment, slept on the sofa in his hospital room for each stay. He expected a miracle, and so did I. Three days after he passed my Mom’s nursing home called to say they were sending her to hospital, with pneumonia. Ten days after my husband passed, my Mom passed. I don’t know how I am still standing and able to speak. I am broken inside. My life as I Knew it is over. I cry and cry late at night, when my son (from a previous marriage) is sleeping, I want them back with me, don’t want to live with this pain.

  27. diane noll said on August 26, 2014 at 8:14 pm ... #

    Iv lost my father in april Ifeel so lost. Iv learned so much about him Ididnt know. I guess till my dieing day ill always be searching for his love and approval. It hurt so much to feel this way. I guess my whole live iv been in bad relashonship with men because Ijust wanted to feel the love he never gave me. Iv always long for all my life. He always made me feel like I was never good enough .

  28. Kay said on August 31, 2014 at 6:42 pm ... #

    Tuesday, September 2nd 2014 is the 10th anniversary of my husband’s death. He was 50 and we had a wonderful life together. We had just returned from our 25th anniversary trip 2 weeks before. I miss him so terribly still. I just feel so very alone. I have a good life with my son’s and their wives. I have good friends at work but it is always so very hard. I was thinking about joining a support group but I feel like people will think it is weird because so much time has passed. But I lost my Mom this year and she was my best friend and I feel that I need to try something.

  29. jewell reichlein said on October 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm ... #

    I am a broken twig this day;not a branch but smaller.

    It takes years to become a branch within the mighty tree and to grow the rings that tell the age of what this tree might be.

    And so I am a broken twig;not grown into a branch.
    For a branch has depth and width which some might take as wisdom.Suddenly, it is so hard to find the words to speak my troubled mind.

    I have lost a loved one today as he went along his way. He followed the angels to Jesus and abides in
    Heaven now and while,I know He has a body vibrant and new,

    My heart is filled with sadness and grief. The tears roll down my cheeks. I was not there to hold his hand or give him one last kiss. I missed that one last hug and to whisper” it is all right,David, to go and rest.

    I am but a broken twig for my son died today.

    David was 44 years old and died unexpectedly from complications from viral liver failure. He just couldn’t wait for a liver donation. I miss him. My world just fell apart on 09/12/2014.

  30. Katie said on November 9, 2014 at 3:12 pm ... #

    It’s been 10 years since my mother died and I feel as if I have not recovered from her death. It is still hard for me to get by knowing that she is no longer here. It is also hard to accept the fact that nobody will ever love me as much as she did. I have seen different counselors, psychologists and social workers but nothing seems to help. I am currently in college doing good, and I also have a great love life but I still feel an immense emptiness inside.

  31. Anonymous said on November 11, 2014 at 2:09 am ... #

    My husband died of a month ago. He was battling cancer for almost two years. He was 56 years old. We’ve known each other for 35 years. Everyday, I go through life just existing.I miss him terribly. It pains me to see my 15 year old son sitting by himself instead of playing tennis with his dad. Sometimes, I feel a part of me is gone..I feel lost and lonely and frustrated. I want to turn back time. Nobody can fill that void

  32. maria C said on November 11, 2014 at 2:32 am ... #

    I lost my husband of 35 years to cancer two months ago. I am still grieving the loss and sometimes, I feel so empty and merely existing day by day. I don’t know how to comfort my 15 year old son. Many have said that Life goes on… without my spouse, I feel lost.I miss him terribly. Every thing reminds me of him. I long to see him in my dreams every night … the only form of comfort.

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