Local church starts classes for the grieving

GriefShare gives people tools to mourn loved ones

Losing a loved one is a hard obstacle to overcome, which is why a church in Maple Valley started grieving classes for anyone to join.

Richard Craig is the co-leader of GriefShare at the Maple Valley Presbyterian Church. The first class of 2018 begins Sunday, Feb. 11.

“This group is open. I mean, of course it’s open to the public. We all go through this. I lost my wife four and a half years ago. My co-leader partner lost her husband three and a half years ago. My current wife lost her husband four and a half years ago. So we know, we’ve been there,” Craig said.

GriefShare is a 13-week program that walks people through the process of grieving a loved one who has passed away. This program is in churches all over the United States and is led by different members of each church.

GriefShare has been going on at Maple Valley Presbyterian Church for about four or five years, according to Craig.

Craig said GriefShare is a good program for those grieving to go through because those leading the program have felt the way they have before.

“Almost every single one of the people that is involved with the teaching, have lost a spouse, a child, a parent, somebody very close and it’s brought them great trauma,” he said. “We totally get it.”

GriefShare is taught through a book called “GriefShare: Your Journey from Mourning to Joy.” Each chapter of the book teaches a new lesson, so one chapter is taught per class.

This book is $20 per person, but according to Craig, if someone cannot afford it, scholarships are available. Craig said one way or another, they will get someone who needs a book and to not worry about it if they can’t pay.

There is one class a week, every Sunday from 2 p.m. to about 4 p.m., Craig said.

He said there are also videos that teach these important steps to grieving as well.

“We walk through the book and the video series. So there would be like 20-30 minutes of video and probably 20-30 minutes of going through the book and we have homework with it that we try to get through. A lot of people can’t get through it because they’re really broken still,” he said. “It progressively builds on itself.”

Craig also said a lot of what is taught goes back to basic psychology.

“It helps lead you through the grief process and there’s a lot that goes back through the progression of psychology that we learned in psychology classes years ago,” he said.

To make this experience as useful as possible, Craig said it is nice to have smaller groups in each class, that way people feel more comfortable to talk and express how they are feeling.

“Because you want to have a smallness enough to where each person can share. If you get too many people in a class, those quiet people are going to get kind of edged out by the talkers and their voice is just as strong as anyone else’s, it needs to be heard and they need to do their thing too,” he said.

Anyone is welcome to join the class, but Craig said it might not be for kids under the age of 14 years old.

“It’s a whole different dynamic with a kid. They process different, where (as) us as adults we process a little more systematically,” Craig said. “They (GriefShare) do offer some stuff on their website for parents to help children go through it.”

GriefShare, according to their website , is there for people to feel comfortable grieving and to get through this rough time with people who understand what it is like, but most importantly it’s about rebuilding your life the way you want it to be.

“It shows them that your walk is your walk, it’s not the same as my walk. You can’t compare it to anybody else and the only way you get through this, you can’t go around it, you have to go through it,” Craig said.

Classes for GriefShare start Feb. 11 and will continue for the next 12 Sundays. For more information about GriefShare, you can call the Maple Valley Presbyterian Church at 425-432-4399.