Comfort and Encouragement for Grieving Mothers

grief support
Gilchrist Clinical Counselor Hilary Harrington (center) is joined by two attendees of the Mothers’ Grief Group – Joanne Giza (l) and Maria Waltemeyer (r).

Over my years as a clinical grief counselor I have facilitated many offerings from our Grief Counseling program. While I have enjoyed them all—each for their own reasons—one program that holds a special place within me is the Mothers’ Grief Group (for moms who have lost adult children).

Starting as a onetime Mother’s Day Tea many years ago, it has transformed into a monthly support group. Sometimes we are a large group (maybe 15 to 20) but more often, an average of 10 to 12 come together to share stories, tears and encouragement. Some moms are reeling from a recent death while others have distance from the death, but not from their love or longing for their child.

I find it amazing how those moms who were once so raw and shattered have transformed in their own way and time to now offer comfort to a “new” mom in a way only a mom can do.

Mother's grief group
Mothers’ Grief Group attendee Maria Waltemeyer is pictured here with photos of her late son, Aaron.

Sons and daughters are remembered with tears and smiles. Some died younger than others and some after a long illness. Some lived a “full and happy life” but are missed no less than the young adult whose life ended during their college years.

“You are always a mom.”

“It’s OK to cry and not apologize.”

“Please, say whatever you need to…this is a safe place.”

“I have not found anything else like this group—this is so important and needed!”

These are words often heard at our group, and those who attend frequently express the importance of this monthly gathering. Even if a mom can’t come one month, she knows there is a place she can return when she is able.

Many moms have made friends and stayed connected in between meetings. Some have attended other programs Gilchrist has offered. They often simply reach out to one another—to cry and talk whenever they need.

It’s a group no one wants to join, but our Mothers’ Grief Group offers a safe space of comfort, understanding and healing.

The Mothers’ Grief Group meets at Gilchrist Center Towson the third Wednesday of most months. To learn more or to register, visit http://gilchristcares.org/grief_registration


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