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The Journey of Grief During the Days of Awe
September 14, 2011
The Journey of Grief During the Days of Awe

Posted by Marjie Sokoll

Miriam*, a 24-year-old graduate student, tragically experienced the sudden death of her brother this past year. This traumatic event changed her life in an instant. After the funeral, Miriam began to feel increasingly alone. She tried to talk with her friends about her feelings of grief, but all of her friends were within her own age group and they had no experience with such a significant loss. Not only were her friends not able to relate to what she was going through, she began to feel that they were getting tired of hearing her talk about her brother. However, Miriam knew that her feelings of grief and her need to talk about her beloved brother were a normal reaction to his death, and she felt she needed some support to get her through the difficult and challenging days that lay ahead.

Miriam Googled the words ‘Bereavement Group Greater Boston’ and was relieved when our Jewish Healing Connections Bereavement Group link appeared. She called Barbara Sternfield, the group facilitator, and attended our ongoing bi-weekly daytime drop-in bereavement group for more than four months.

Miriam found the support she was seeking. It helped that the group members were of all different ages. They did not look at her as her friends had, as being different, because they could all understand her feelings of grief. What was common to all of them was the experience of loss. Miriam had found her caring community.

Many people who have experienced the loss of a loved one find particular times of the year especially challenging, such as significant anniversary dates and holidays. For many years, JF&CS Jewish Healing Connections has offered an annual High Holy Day Community Memorial Service. We invite all those who have experienced a loss to join us this year as we gather together as a community to support one another. 
 
At sunset on September 28, the ten-day High Holy Day journey from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur begins. These ten Days of Awe are a time of reflection and introspection to help us spiritually prepare for the year to come. As an additional source of support I am also including a link to my previous blog post, Coping with Grief during the Holidays.

If you or anyone you know is looking for support, please share this information with them. We welcome people of all ages and faiths.

Our bereavement support groups are made possible through the generosity of the George and Beatrice Sherman Family Charitable Trust.

For more information please call Barbara Sternfield at bsternfield@jfcsboston.org or 781-647-JFCS (5327) x.1984.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Marjorie U. Sokoll, MEd., director of Jewish Life and Healing, is the founder and director of JF&CS Jewish Healing Connections, which helps ensure that people feel a sense of connection when facing the challenges of illness, loss, or isolation by offering spiritual and communal supports to foster hope, comfort, and wholeness guided by Jewish tradition. “It is not good for people to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)

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