When a person loses someone they love, a spouse, a sibling, a mother, father or friend, it can plunge them into the depths of grief. Life can very suddenly turn from a wonderful, joyous thing into something dark and distressing, leaving a person with a sense of suffering so acute that a return to normal life can seem impossible.
How can you smile, how can you laugh, how can you find enjoyment in life when the person you love is no longer there?
These are exactly the kinds of questions and emotions that the international organization GriefShare aims to address and right here in the valley, the Pahrump chapter of GriefShare has spent the last six years helping locals heal from the wounds of their loss.
Established in July, 2015, the local chapter of GriefShare was founded by the late Pete Giordano, a longtime Pahrump resident who, after having lost his wife in January of that year, found himself struggling to cope. That was when his daughter decided to take him to a GriefShare seminar in Henderson and the experience was such that Giordano immediately realized this was something he wanted to be able to bring to his community.
Nearly six years later, Giordano has passed away and joined his wife in the hereafter but his legacy lives on in the Pahrump chapter of GriefShare, with members who found their own solace in the program stepping up to carry on the mission that Giordano so faithfully pursued, helping others through their journey from mourning to joy. “I have had an awesome group to support my carrying on the torch that Pete brought to the Pahrump community,” group leader Marcia Savage told the Pahrump Valley Times. “They supported me on Zoom Meet in the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown of the group meetings. Our group has been very successful and growing each week, with regular attendance from 12 to 18 people at the in-person group on Saturdays.”
Tony Lambardi, another group facilitator, remarked, “It will be one year on March 30 since Pete went to be with the Lord and his beloved Anne. This program would not be here if Pete had not brought it to Pahrump. It’s the best organization in the grieving network,” while facilitator Sharon Colt added, “I have seen miracles with the participants, moving forward through their grief and finding their faith in God again!”
Every chapter of GriefShare is led by men and women who have experienced the agony of losing a loved one. “The team is made up of all participants who have gone through one or two cycles of the program,” Savage detailed. “We have all been there in the beginning, and know the pain, tears and hurt, but now show how this program brings out joy, love and understanding back into our lives. All those who go through the program are a great inspiration to us, as team members, seeing the progress they make going through the program. That is the thanks and blessing we get by hosting the GriefShare program here in Pahrump.”
Upcoming celebration, special seminar, new 13-week cycle
At this time, the group is readying to conclude its most recent 13-week cycle, with its next Celebration of Life set for Saturday, March 20 from noon to 2 p.m. While this is the traditional culmination to mark the completion of each 13-week cycle, the event is not solely for those who have been attending GriefShare in recent weeks. Savage said all who have ever taken part in GriefShare are more than welcome to join in the Celebration of Life, which will include a pot luck, music and the group’s customary balloon launch.
Following the Celebration of Life ceremony, GriefShare will once again host a special session dedicated to widows and widowers. Entitled “Loss of a Spouse” the session will delve into the complexities of grief experienced by those who have lost their life partners, a loss that can be so keenly felt that many times the surviving spouse simply cannot imagine going on. Understanding this pain and torment, the facilitators at GriefShare will work to help attendees cope with their tragic loss and show them that they are not alone in their sorrow. The Loss of a Spouse seminar is set for Saturday, March 27 from 1 to 3 p.m.
It will then be time for GriefShare facilitators to turn to their next 13-week cycle, which will begin on Saturday, April 10 and run until Saturday, July 3.
The 13-week cycle consists of a series of self-contained sessions, which allows participants to join at any point in the 13-week cycle. Any missed sessions can simply be picked up during the following cycle.
Each session is comprised of three distinct sections, opening with a video created by the international organization, all of which feature experts on the topic of grief and recovery. After the video, the group will open its discussion portion, in which members will be able to talk over the themes of the video they have watched and share their personal stories and experiences with one another. There is no requirement, however, for members to partake of the discussion, and those who are feeling hesitant to share can benefit greatly just by listening to the words of others who have gone through the same kind of grief they themselves are battling. Finally, the session comes to a close with personal study and reflection, which is guided by a workbook in which participants are able to record their thoughts and emotions.
For those who are unwilling or unable to attend GriefShare in person, Savage has also set up a weekly Zoom Meeting to help provide support to grieving individuals virtually. These meetings are held each Thursday at 2 p.m. Anyone interested in participating via Zoom must contact Savage to register and she will then provide instructions on signing in each week.
GriefShare is a nondenominational grief support group that welcomes members of all faiths, with facilitators noting that though Central Valley Baptist Church generously allows the group to meet in its fellowship hall, GriefShare attendees do not need to be Baptist or attend church at Central Valley Baptist in order to join. It is also important to note that GriefShare takes confidentiality seriously and the names and personal experiences of those who attend will only be shared publicly if the participant wishes them to be.
For more information on GriefShare visit www.griefshare.org
For more, contact Savage at 775-513-4482 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Colt at 775-622-5494 or Lambardi at 775-537-3276.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at email@example.com