Testimony by: Alonzo Alford
"My initial encounter with the Grief Support and Recovery Ministry was coincidental and occurred when I was selected to attend a GriefShare meeting in my pastor’s absence. While providing ministerial guidance, I was asked to share my experience with grief after losing a loved one. I was a little startled by this request because as deacon of the church my intentions were only to assist the ministry and not be a participant. This was my first interaction with the support group and it was already in its 10th session. What could I say at this time for encouragement? How supportive or effective will my words be? However, after watching a video with the other participants, I was amazed at what I learned.
About 2 years ago, I lost both of my parents within a 3-week time span. My father died first at the age of 92 after a long illness which was anticipated. A week later, my mother accidentally fell in her home and lapsed into a coma from which she never recovered. Even though she was 88 years old, her mind was sharp. She was still able to cook and do other things on her own. My mother was still in the Intensive Care Unit when we attended my father’s funeral. A few days later, my siblings and I had to contemplate the hopeless choice of ending my mother’s existence by terminating her life support. During both homegoing ceremonies, I did not openly show sorrowfulness or anguish before others nor did I consider revisiting my parents’ graves a necessity. These inactions contributed to my feelings of shamefulness and guilt.
GriefShare helped me understand how important it is to grieve after the loss of a loved one. While attending GriefShare, I discovered there is more than one way to grieve and there are different phases of grief. However, the most important discovery to me is you don’t have to grieve like others. After listening to and sharing openly with others, the weight of guilt and shame was lifted. I thank God and Agape Wholistic Life Changing Ministries for this support program."