NORWICH – "There is no hope...It's a nightmare that never ends."
A local support group for bereaved parents entitled "Beyond Words" gathered for its monthly meeting Wednesday night in the community room at the Norwich Family YMCA.
Founded in January 2017, "Beyond Words" meets monthly, affording parents who have lost a child an opportunity to share stories and offer support to one another in an environment where they are truly not alone in their grieving. Its next meeting is Wednesday, May 16 at 6 p.m., and is open to the public.
"That's one of the difficult things about grief: it's a highly private and personal thing that you're forced to live in public. And nobody else can understand what your private and personal grief is," said one parent.
A candle of remembrance was lit to start the meeting as 12 parents discussed memories of their lost children, their coping strategies, and were quick to offer support to one another in the form that they can relate and they are not alone. Some parents in attendance had lost their child over 20 years ago – others within the last month – and all were able to offer empathy to one another.
A consensus among parents in attendance was that unless you have experienced the loss of a child, you have no idea the toll it takes. "I think people's ignorance to what we're going through is more of a problem than anything else," said one parent.
One issue bereaved parents face is that, according to one parent, they are treated "like a leper" at times, with other people tip-toeing around the tragedy and avoiding any topics of conversation that relate to the lost child. But the parents in attendance all agreed that more than anything, they want to keep the memory of their child alive.
It was agreed upon that the group "Beyond Words" plays a positive role in each of their lives by affording parents an opportunity to talk about their child and keep the memory alive with people who have experienced firsthand such a tragedy––be it recently, or 20 years ago.
The meetings are open to the public, and no membership is required. Organizers say that anyone is invited to drop by a meeting, without any obligation to talk or to stay for the duration of the meeting.
If you have any questions or are would like more information regarding "Beyond Words," contact Linda at (607) 334-8793 or Dave at (609) 540-6186.