For many of us, our use of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed from a guilty pleasure to more of a survival tool. We use it to connect with our loved ones and our community—to learn what’s happening in the world and closer to home. We use it to find others who feel what we feel and think what we think about all that is going on. Community is about connection, validation, communication, fellowship and shared goals.
As families and friends navigate their way through the aftermath of a death, we need to find new and better ways to support each other during our isolation. Grief is isolating enough, but with the addition of social distancing, it can feel like a vast and hopeless void. The Gilchrist Grief Support team has been working to find ways to help people out of this isolation while staying safe.
Before the pandemic, Gilchrist was only able to offer in-person counseling and support. But as the pandemic took hold, we had to find other ways to support our families in their grief. We started offering grief telehealth by phone or by Zoom. We organized online virtual groups facilitated by our amazing volunteers and counselors. And we held our first virtual event— Steps of Hope. Finally, we created a Facebook group, Gilchrist’s Grief Group. No guilty pleasure here—instead, a true community connection to others going through a similar situation.
Our Grief Facebook group is an open group for people who are grieving from the death of a family member or friend. It is designed to offer education, support and reassurance as you mourn and heal. Clinical grief counselors provide posts several times a week with support information and discussion prompts. Members can share with each other their pain and growth, their challenges and what has helped, as well as pictures and stories of their loved ones.
Discussion topics include recommended books, online events, TED Talks, helpful websites, podcasts—the possibilities are endless as we explore the many ways grief shows up in our lives and how we cope. We encourage members to comment and post what’s meaningful to them as a way of connecting with others. Community is such a necessary part of the healing process, and we hope you will find that with us online.
To join the Gilchrist Grief Group on Facebook, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/gilchristgriefgroup/.
To learn more about our virtual support groups, visit http://gilchristcares.org/grief_registration