Enter the house of belonging. The grief landscape is teaming with people ready to support you (both visible and invisible)
“The healing power of even the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you’re talking about because she experienced that thing too cannot be overestimated.” - Cheryl Strayed
Grief can be a very isolating and cold journey. You don't need to do it alone.
Every day in the world, 175,000 people die leaving behind loved ones to mourn their absence. The grief landscape is teaming with people who understand what you are going through and are ready to support and share your journey. You just need to know where to find them and in this article, I show you how.
After my mother died, I found that because the Western culture is very death and grief phobic, when you lose a loved one, people tend to disappear from your life soon after the funeral and impose timelines around your grief. This can be very isolating and alienating and a far cry from how my African culture handles death.
In Cameroon, when a death happens, the community flocks together to support you. They understand what has happened to you - that you are at a threshold and the next periods of time are very important in helping you to not only go on living but to enter into new and more expansive understandings of yourself. They do this through rites of passage and mourning rituals which cradle the griever in the basin of community support and love.
We don't yet have this type of support structure available in the West, but there are different ways in which you can receive support and in this article, I have put together a list of resources to help you start that journey of finding your tribe – those people who understand what you are going through because they are also walking this path.
There is deep healing to be found in connecting with others to share your story and experiences.
Urgent Help is Here
Please keep in mind that resources like support groups or even a therapist are not a substitute for emergency services
The weight and heaviness of grief can sometimes feel insurmountable and many times during my journey in the early days. I wanted to end it all. I did not see any reason to go on. I want you to know that your pain is real and worthy of your deepest contemplation and there is help and support for you on this journey. You are not alone.
“…. From that moment on I have known with a certainty that the worst things, and even despair, are only a kind on abundance and an onslaught of existence that one decision of the heart could turn into its opposite. When things become truly difficult and unbearable, we find ourselves in a place already very close to its transformation” – Rainer Marie Rilke (The Dark Interval: Letter 9 to Anita Forrer. February 14th, 1920)
If you are in that dark hole of despair and think there is no way out and are thinking of ending your life, or if you just need someone to talk with, please call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Helpline at 1800-273-8255 or go to their website for a live chat.
Read some stories of hope and recovery. Really – you are not alone on this journey.
Grief Support Communities
In this section, I offer you articles, support group recommendations, grief therapy websites, blogs as well as general helpful information to connect with others who are on the same journey as you
A support group might not be for you, but research that was conducted in 2022 shows that it can be beneficial in helping you cope with loss and death by providing you with community support and easing your sense of aloneness.
You can also read this article on Support Groups: Positives and Pitfalls from “What’s Your Grief” to provide you with additional perspective on what to expect so that you can make a more informed decision that will meet your needs.
Here is another article from the Hospice Foundation on why you might want to join support groups and some support groups you can join for specific types of losses.
In-Person Support Groups
If you need that in-person connection for support, it might be helpful to reach out to your local hospice and funeral homes to see what types of support groups they might have. A google search in your area might also surface smaller organizations that offer bereavement group support services.
Online grief support Groups
- Online Grief Support: Ongoing Virtual Grief Support Group (Zoom calls every Wednesday)
- Circles: Provides online group therapy sessions that allow you to connect with people who have also lost a loved one. Therapists and coaches lead sessions. It costs $79/month for 4 60-minute sessions a month with unlimited messaging with other group members. The first meeting is free
- Grieving.com: Great online grief support group with multiple forums for different types of grief like the loss of a parent, child, spouse, etc. Members are active.
- Griefincommon.com: Includes zoom support groups, live chat room 24/7, see and share stories, individual coaching as well as a grief learning hub. $9.99 per year for live chat, $85 for individual video sessions, $25 for general grief group sessions
- Hope Again: Support space for young people who have experienced loss to share their stories and connect
- Grief Healing: Great discussion group which is actively monitored and has active members. There are various forums for different types of grief you can connect to.
- Awaken Online Grief Support: Weekly classes that provide you with practical tools and a safe space to connect with people who understand what you are going through. Offers support through meditations, grief yoga, meetups for social support, sharing groups, mindfulness and grief course library, and seasonal workshops and retreats. Membership costs $49 a month.
Social Media Support Groups
- Grief Support Group: This is for anyone suffering from the loss of someone they love. The group has 24K members and about 10 posts a day
- Grief Relief Outlet after the Loss of a Husband or Life Partner : 14K members with 10+ posts a day
- Silent Tears ( Grief Support): 30K + members with 5+ posts a day
- Grief: Releasing Pain, Remembering Love & Finding Meaning: 29K members with 10+ posts a day
- Healing after Loss - a Christian Grief Group: 3.4K Members with 9 posts a day
- Parent Loss Grief Support Group: 29.7k Members with 10+ posts a day
- Motherless Daughters: 10.1K Members with10 posts a day
- Good Mourning Grief Support Group: 2.8K Members with 5 posts a day
Grief Support – Journaling Courses
- Writing Your Grief Community:30-day course by Refuge in Grief that lets you tell your truth about grief. It is session based and the next session starts September 12th, 2022, and costs $169.
- 30-Day Grief Journaling course by What’s Your Grief: This is a self-guided course where you explore your grief using different journal prompts over 30 days. It costs $30.
- What’s Your Grief: Great articles with an active comment section to connect with other grievers on different grief topics
Grief Counseling & Therapy
Perhaps you would like more intimate support in a one-on-one setting to help you cope with unique aspects of your grief. As you start your journey to looking for a grief coach, counselor, or therapist that can support you as you thread the labyrinth pathways of grief, please look at the articles below with tips on how to find the best counselor or therapist for your unique needs.
- Refuge in Grief: How to find a grief therapist
- What is Grief Counseling? The Nuts and Bolts - What's Your Grief (whatsyourgrief.com)
- The Center for Prolonged Grief: Helps people who are experiencing prolonged grief
- Grief.com: Find the right grief counselor using their grief counselor directory
- Psychology Today: Find an in-person therapist in your city
- Good Therapy: Find the best therapist for you. You can look for in-person or telehealth
- Better Help: Affordable private therapy – talk with a licensed professional therapist online
- Talkspace : Online therapy with a live therapist.
The House of Belonging
“Loneliness is the place from which we pay real attention to voices other than our own; being alone allows us to find the healing power in the other…Loneliness is a single malt taste of the very essentiality that makes conscious belonging possible. The doorway is closer than we think. I am alone: therefore, I belong.”- Davide Whyte From Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words (Loneliness)
I am so sorry that death has found you. Please know that he also found many of us and you are not alone in your grief.
We are here.
We have been waiting for you in the house of belonging.