Located in the privacy of the Red Bridge United Methodist Church Library, the Mourning Center offers a selection of available books on coping with loss. Photo by Sue Reames
Mourning Together offers help to local residents
By Sue Reames
Everyone has experienced loss, be it loss of a loved one, divorce, job, pet loss or death, home or security. Loss can also include diminishing health, ability and/or independence. Emotional reaction to loss is normal. Mourning Together volunteers provide an opportunity for south Kansas City residents to share their stories of loss.
Volunteers are ready to listen with compassion and confidentiality without judgment, suggestions or empty platitudes in response. These volunteers from Red Bridge United Methodist Church have received training from Rev. David and Elaine Howlett of Christ United Methodist Church in Independence. The Howletts are certified in Death and Grief Studies by Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., well known grief counselor and educator, through the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, CO. Wolfelt has authored several books, including First Aid for Broken Hearts.
Lisa Daly, the coordinator of Mourning Together, assures that volunteers are trained, available and able to listen in a one-on-one meeting. She says, “The volunteers have been taught to companion the person who is struggling with an emotional reaction to loss.” She adds, “Our volunteers are not professional counselors, but they can refer individuals to area resources.” Although willing to pray with a person when asked, these volunteers will make no attempt to evangelize anyone who comes to Mourning Together.
Daly says, “We want our Mourning Together Center to be a safe haven for anyone suffering loss.” The Center is inside Red Bridge United Methodist Church, located at 117th Street and Holmes. It is available to the public on Sunday mornings, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. and the first Wednesday of each month from 9:00 – 11 a.m.
An introductory Open House for the Mourning Center will be held Sunday, January 26, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. At that time, Daly will have a sign up for those persons wishing to join a group discussion of Dr. Wolfelt’s book. People of all religious beliefs are invited to call 816-941-0112 for more information about Mourning Together.