Fay Jacobsohn and Dorothy Villines are making lemonade from lemons, in the way of helping others. The two-woman team will facilitate the GriefShare Support Group as a service to the community.
The returning support group will begin in March. The 13-week program will be offered Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. or Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
First meetings are March 3 and 5 at River Oak Grace Community Church, 7712 Rodden Road, Room 501, Oakdale. Meetings are free of charge to the community, with a personal workbook cost of $20.
The GriefShare program is part teaching seminar and part support group. The Christ-centered seminar portion is presented through DVD’s which offer teachings through testimonials on topics related to death and grief.
Jacobsohn has suffered the loss of a mother, sibling and a child. Villines has experienced the loss of a spouse, daughter, granddaughter and several other family members.
“It is Christian based, but we’d like to encourage anyone to come,” Villines said of the group, adding that at some point, everyone faces grief in their lifetime. “It helps you deal with your feeling of grief. The videos are really good because they’re experts as well as families.
The two women share a bond, which first began shortly after Jacobsohn’s son was diagnosed with bone cancer. Villines understood Jacobsohns’ pain, confusion and grief as her son lived through his discomfort, from her own family’s experience with cancer.
The mother shared her grieving began prior to losing her son after his two-year battle, faced with the reality that treatment could not ease his pain or his prognosis.
“It was a relief for me when my son finally passed,” she said. “To know he was out of pain.”
“There’s a lot to be learned from how different people handle situations,” Villines added.
“We hope to offer healing and hope to people that are grieving,” Jacobsohn said. “Finding someone else who understands, that’s what this group is.”
“I have a very strong belief that God prepares us for this,” Villines said. “I feel like it’s each of our responsibilities to care for each other. You just learn to listen to others and help them deal with things like this. You learn the differences of grieving. The stages and how to deal with them.”
The support group, they said, is a safe place to come and learn coping skills and understand the process.
“People are afraid to talk to you about the person that died,” Jacobsohn said. “It’s nice and freeing to be able to speak openly. We don’t want to forget them.”
Both women shared that the group is 100 percent confidential and information is not shared outside of the group setting.
“We never know how our lives touch other people’s lives,” Villines summarized. “Somehow, some way it is going to touch someone.
“You do leave a legacy in life and how you do that is very important.”
For additional information on the 13-week GriefShare program contact Fay Jacobsohn at 847-2083 or the church office at 847-9428.