Comfort, Courage and Clarity: Supporting Adults through Loss

I had lost my mother nine months previously, and I felt her absence everywhere.

I wanted to pick up the phone to share some news with her.

I wanted the encouragement to diet (or the compliment that I didn’t need to!).

I couldn’t imagine making Pesach without her standing in the kitchen alongside me.

I needed her advice about a career change I was considering.

I missed the little packages she sent the kids every few weeks.

I felt guilty that we weren’t visiting my father often enough.

While I was happily married and a mother of several children, I felt utterly alone in all this. My siblings were struggling, each in their own way. Was there anyone who could understand and support me in my pain?

 Throughout Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah’s years of assisting those who have lost a loved one – most commonly a parent – staff members have seen the need for and value of solid, guided, skilled support in the face of loss – and in ultimately finding the strength to move on. Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah is thus pleased to announce the release of Comfort, Courage and Clarity: The Support Group Handbook. This unique guide will enable interested individuals to effectively lead support groups for adults who have lost a parent; it also offers valuable materials to those who are already facilitators for such groups.

Mrs. Miriam Ribiat, Project Manager at Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah, developed and compiled the handbook. She shares: “I saw how a well-run support group can be so important in the healing process. As a result of my own experiences with loss and the work I subsequently did on myself, I felt like I could put myself out there for other adults dealing with the loss of a parent.

“The well-run support group offers a safe place to share your feelings, to feel cared for, to gain tools that have been effective for others. Everything shared is kept confidential, and the environment is completely non-judgmental.”

Mrs. Ruchy Rosenfeld, the other driving force behind this publication, suffered the loss of her parents and mother-in-law in rapid succession. Already involved with Yad B’Yad, an organization that arranges support groups for many life challenges, Mrs. Rosenfeld offered to run a group for women in mourning. Putting together this handbook was an outgrowth of that experience.

As Mrs. Rosenfeld frequently tells people: “The year of aveilus can be a very overwhelming time. Don’t go it alone! It’s always easier to process your grief with others who are experiencing the same thing.”

The handbook has already been warmly received by Mrs. Sarah Rivkah Kohn, founder of LINKS, an organization that offers support to teenagers who have lost a parent, and by Mrs. Miriam Liebermann, LCSW, an accomplished author and lecturer who has led many support groups.

The guidebook includes the following:

  • Instructions for how to structure and run a group
  • Topic suggestions
  • Materials and articles to help initiate discussion
  • Questions that can be discussed in the group or with a partner following group meetings.

In addition, Mrs. Ribiat is available to assist in setting up or running support group using the handbook.

To obtain a copy of The Support Group Handbook or for more information, please call Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah at 732-364-7029 or email: info@ChevrahLomdeiMishnah.org.