PEOPLE will always react differently to the loss of a loved one.
For some, it may be a relief after many months of suffering, or thanksgiving for a life lived well.
Yet even then, we don’t truly know how we will react to losing someone until it actually happens.
Others, however, don’t deal so well with grief and sometimes even find that the pain gets even worse as the months go on, rather than getting better.
As clergy, our first point of contact is usually a meeting with the family to help them make practical decisions about a funeral and a service of celebration or thanksgiving.
We do recognise that we are not the only people who provide this service. The fact is many civil celebrants offer to take funerals and do so in a professional and caring manner.
So, what can we offer that might be different? Well, the death of a loved one is a sad and painful thing and is often very hard to understand.
Therefore, the care we offer as a parish church starts at the first contact and does not necessarily have to come to an end at the end of the funeral, as it might do for some others.
We are there for people well beyond the funeral itself, and we always will be.
We can and do visit bereaved people, and we also offer a bereavement course in which people who are suffering after the loss of a loved one can explore their feelings and emotions in both a safe and confidential environment.
The course we run at St Mary’s Church is called Living With Grief. It is an eight-week long course in which we use a DVD called Changed Forever; this DVD contains short segments to allow us to explore our grief.
The areas explored include: the death of a loved one; the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of grief; grief versus depression; complicated grief – and the fact that we are changed forever.
This course is also not limited to recent bereavements and is open to anyone wishing to explore any sort of grief that they may be suffering at that time.
Our next course starts on Sunday, February 12, at 2.15pm in Portchester Parish Hall, Assheton Court, Portchester PO16 9PY.
Our Sunday services are also an ideal place to meet the loving, kind-hearted members of our congregation, who are always there to look after one another.
To book a place on the course, do contact us via our parish office on (023) 9232 1380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.