'Good Grief' classes offer wholistic approach to dealing with one's loss

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

A series of grief classes, sponsored by the Eureka Springs Ministerial Association, will get under way on Nov. 11, meeting the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Sonshine Christian Book Store on U.S. Highway 62 on the east side of Eureka Springs.

The 6:30 p.m. sessions, titled "Good Grief 101," primarily focus on participants in the process of experiencing loss. At 7:15 p.m., the "Good Grief Support Group," which includes alumni of the program, will meet.

According to facilitator, the Rev. Gene Gilmore of First Assembly of God of Eureka Springs, the basic text for these classes will be "Good Grief," a small book published in 1962 by Granger E. Westberg, a pioneer in wholistic health care and the interrelationship of religion and medicine. The text will be supplemented by other readings, as well as handouts.

Grief can be prompted by many situations ---- the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a change in job status, for example. Financial ruin, declining health and loss of a pet are other events that can cause grief.

A lower level of grief may also be experienced, including a wife getting late notice that her husband is bringing someone home for dinner; or the transfer of a well-liked boss. One's reactions to such "little griefs" can tell a lot about how one handles major losses.

"Good Grief" covers the roller coaster of reactions to loss, including shock, emotion, depression, loneliness, physical reactions, panic, guilt, anger, resentment, and resistance to returning to life's normal pattern.

The grief classes require no commitment of time, Gilmore said, and all books are available at Sonshine.

The classes were first started about one and one-half years ago, Gilmore said, with some 25 to 30 participants. It is not uncommon for attendees to move on and come back as time goes by.

Attendees have come from many denominational backgrounds, and many hold no particularly religious belief, Gilmore said. All interested persons are encouraged to attend.

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