Journeys Through Grief – From Ann’s Perspective

Grief is not limited to the death of a loved one. People often experience it with any significant loss – a home, job, one’s health, a relationship, or separation.

Ann knows grief in many forms, starting with the death of her younger brother when she was a child. She and her husband divorced when their daughter was just five. In 2011, her granddaughter was stillborn, dad passed in 2012, and mom followed in 2018. She’s lost jobs due to various circumstances, needed to relocate several times, faced debilitating health issues, and said good-bye to 12 pets.

Her broken relationship with her daughter, however, brings her the most heartache. She misses her daughter and her five grandchildren. Nothing could have prepared her for that level of pain.

Ann first met Sylvia Havlish, grief counselor and facilitator for Lutheran Congregational Services, through the church. After an initial one-on-one counseling session with Sylvia, she later joined LCS’s Journeys Through Grief, six-week program. Here’s Ann describing her experience:

“Journeys Through Grief was very structured. I knew what to expect with each session, and Sylvia provided excellent material to reinforce what was covered.

“To keep me grounded and to make sense of the world, I rely heavily on my faith and scripture. ‘Be still and know’ is an encouraging reminder from whom my strength comes. The fact that Sylvia wove prayer and scripture into the program was especially meaningful for me.

“From the beginning, she set up a compassionate, trusting community within the group. The other participants and I were comfortable with one another right away, which made it safer to share.”

An Ongoing Process Building Resiliency, Hope and Purpose

Journeys Through Grief reinforced for Ann that grieving is an ongoing process that truly never ends. Managing triggers and feelings is part of her daily routine. She relies on her faith and uses what she learned to remain resilient. While she works toward reconciling with her daughter and grandchildren, she’s also exploring an entrepreneurial idea related to pets. These bring her hope and a sense of purpose.