Daytime Bereavement Group
by Janet Zimmerman, LCSW-R
On the first Tuesday and third Wednesday of each month, a wonderful group of parents meets at the COPE house to find and offer support to each other in dealing with the loss of their children. As with all support groups at COPE, no one wants to be a member of such a group. But, once a grieving parent takes the first brave step of entering the room, they immediately feel welcomed and at home. Everyone understands. Everyone needs support. And everyone counts on this group to help sustain them.
I know this because I am the social worker who facilitates the daytime support group. I am truly amazed at the kindness, caring, and love that each member offers to their fellow grieving mothers and fathers. I have been facilitating bereavement groups for many years for many organizations and I can say with certainty that this particular group is very special. When a new parent walks hesitantly into the room, they are greeted and listened to with warmth and empathy. There is no judgment. Each and every parent is treated with respect. If someone has something that they want to share, or needs to ask for help on how to deal with certain situations, that’s what they do. And there is always a response. There isn’t always a perfect answer, but there is always respectful listening and support. And if someone isn’t up to talking, that’s okay too. Sometimes just being there is all one can do. And it helps.
We talk about all kinds of things, including how to deal with friends or relatives who say “stupid” things, like “you’re doing better, right?”, or “well, it’s good that you have other children.” Or what it feels like when you have to fill out forms asking how many children you have. Or how sometimes you just don’t want to get out of bed, or you have very scary thoughts. You are not alone. Everyone in the daytime group “gets it.” There’s nothing you can’t talk about. The only rules are that everyone gets a chance to speak if they wish, and everyone needs to be respectful of everyone else. And no one shares other peoples’ stories without permission. Confidentiality is expected.
If you’ve been thinking about joining a group and are available during the day, please consider the daytime group at the COPE house at Eisenhower Park. We meet the first Tuesday and the third Wednesday of the month from 1:00-2:30 pm. As with all support groups, you need to speak with me first so I can do an intake and answer any questions you may have.
If you’ve been thinking of giving us a try, please do so. You will be embraced with warmth and acceptance, and I promise you, it will help.
From a Parent in Janet’s Group:
Janet Zimmerman has been such an effective facilitator and leader. What makes her special? She understands each one of our situations and uses her techniques and tools to touch upon and help improve each and every one of us. Her advice is valuable. And her professionalism is what helps make our group so special. We truly care about each other. We depend upon each other. Thank You Janet and COPE as I wouldn’t be where I am today without you and our group. We put one foot in front of the other each day to survive . What you have taught us has been so greatly appreciated. You are the Best Janet Zimmerman.