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Church program helps with overcoming grief
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The grief of losing a loved one comes in many forms, but for some, sharing that pain with others who have gone through similar experiences can help ease the heartache. For the past 10 years, Hilmar Covenant Church has provided a safe space where those who may be grieving can share their stories through GriefShare – a 13-week program for adults mourning the loss of someone close to them.


“The grieving process comes to all of at some point. We all have to go through it, but we don’t have to go through it alone,” said GriefShare coordinator Carolyn Ahlem.


Ahlem is a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in the area of grief and loss. She has grieved the loss of two children, she said, and knows the emotion well.


“When we lose someone we love, we feel crushed and broken,” she said. “We wonder how we will survive. Will we ever laugh or feel joy again?”


Cooperation with the natural grief process can help those grieving answer such questions with a resounding, “yes!” said Ahlem, and GriefShare is a program that can help participants heal, grow and make necessary life changes to move forward from their grief.


Part teaching seminar and part support group, the Christ-centered program meets weekly to discuss topics related to grief and death, allowing participants to talk through issues and feelings related to their own grief experiences through session topics like “Is this Normal?”, “The Challenges of Grief,” “Guilt and Anger,” “Stuck in Grief” and “What Do I Live For Now?”


“The program provides wonderful support for those who are grieving,” said Ahlem. “We’ve done it for ten years and it covers a broad spectrum of the grieving process.”


The GriefShare program begins Jan. 7 and meets weekly on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Hilmar Covenant Church Family Center, located at 20056 American Ave. in Hilmar. The meetings are free of charge and open to any adults in the community, though a personal workbook is provided at the cost of $15.


“It’s good to know you’re not alone, and to have the support of others who know how you feel can be very strengthening and encouraging,” said Ahlem.