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Warm Arms Wrapped Around You

By Carolyn Dotts

Mitchell County

“Going to GriefShare feels like having warm arms wrapped around you when you’re shivering.” Have you or someone you know recently lost someone you love? Perhaps it is a family member-a parent, a sibling, a spouse or even a child. Or you may have lost a close friend. Losing someone through death, whether expected or sudden, immediately results in shock, closely followed by grief.  At first, the shock is a welcome insulator, providing a feeling of numbness that protects you from the overwhelming pain of sorrow and loss. A feeling of surrealism can engulf you for a period of time. As the shock fades, grief is waiting. Many people facing this grief can find loving support and recovery with others who are also walking this journey.  Grief tends to isolate you in a time when you desperately need to connect with others who understand the deep pain and can help answer some of the many questions you may have. GriefShare, sponsored by Western Carolina Church, is one such support available in Mitchell County.

I first heard of GriefShare when I lost my husband in a car accident over 13 years ago. It referenced the website in a book I was reading about the process of grieving. When you pull up the website, it offers valuable resources, such a list of GriefShare meetings within a specified radius of your home. GriefShare groups meet all across the United States and Canada, as well as internationally. Another helpful feature of the website is a daily encouraging email message you can sign up to receive each day of the year. There is also a bookstore offering books, CDs and video on grief and recovery topic, many of which are written by some of the expert authors, counselors, speakers and pastors who are featured in the video seminars. A six-week personal study called Help for the Journey is also available on the website. Another section discusses the various topics presented in each video.

In a typical GriefShare session participants view a professionally-produced video seminar featuring notable experts in grief and the recovery process. During the video, which lasts from 30-45minutes, viewers may take notes in the guidebook which is used for all 13 sessions. It also contains devotions that can be completed prior to the next session. Discussion and questions follow the video. Participants may choose to speak or just listen but be assured that confidentiality is valued. Many participants have attended both fall and spring sessions because they have shared that the second time around yields information, they missed during the first viewing.

The GriefShare fall session will begin on Thursday, August 15th at Western Carolina Church. It begins at 6:00 PM and a light meal will be served.  It will continue for 13 consecutive weeks, ending on November 7th.  On Saturday, November 9th, the Surviving the Holidays seminar will also be offered. More information about this seminar will be addressed in a future issue of BRCN. If you are interested or know someone who may benefit from GriefShare, please call Carolyn Dotts at 828- 467-1433 for more information or to register.


Carolyn Dotts makes her home in Ledger and is a teacher of Exceptional Children at Greenlee Primary School. She is a widow with two sons and five grandchildren. She is a member of Western Carolina Church in Spruce Pine.