A Journey of Grief
𝒱𝑒𝓇𝓁𝑒𝓃𝑒 𝐵𝓇𝑜𝓌𝓃'𝓈 𝒮𝓉𝑜𝓇𝓎
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Verlene Brown’s grief journey began when her father, whom she was very close to, passed away in 1980. In September of 1999, the first of many consecutive and personal losses commenced with the ending of a 10-year marriage to her husband by divorce who later died from prostate cancer. One month after her divorce, she lost her mother to lung cancer. Three weeks after the death of her mother, her eldest sister suffered a heart attack and died. Even though she suffered and struggled to endure these sudden and successional losses, they did not compare to the pain she experienced caused by her next greatest tragedy. Nine months after burying her sister and mother, she lost her greatest gift – her only daughter; she was 22 years old. Verlene’s relationship with death did not end with the passing of her only child; a few years later she lost another sister, an aunt whom she cared for, and afterwards, a cousin.
Because of these tragic events, Verlene experienced a variety of emotions, including shock, devastation, numbness, sadness, anger, and loneliness. As time went by, it became clear she could not cope with these loses on her own. Realizing she needed help to navigate through this maze of emotions, she reached out to a Christian counselor. The counselor prescribed walking and medication; medication to control the sea of emotions and walking because of its ability to boost endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression. She started walking, but rejected the medication. The counseling services she received did not provide the healing she needed.
A friend suggested she attend a grief support group known as GriefShare. This is when her journey to healing began. Having to process multiple unforeseen and subsequent losses, Verlene was unable to pinpoint her pain and relate what she was feeling to an individual loss. After participating in the GriefShare Support Group for 13 weeks, she began to identify who, what, and why she was grieving. After completing her third 13-weeks session, she could talk about each loss, accept the reality of their deaths, and develop a new normal.
Verlene’s healing cultivated a compelling desire to share, help, and support others who were dealing with grief. This compassion gave birth to the Grief Support Group she started at her local church, Agape Wholistic Life Changing Ministries. She has served as the Grief Support Facilitator for more than 10+ years and continues to help countless others whose hearts have been broken. Her continual support has enabled many to pick up their broken pieces and start the journey of becoming whole again. She shares with them that apart from God, complete healing cannot be achieved. She encourages them to seek Jesus and allow Him to replace their emptiness and pain with His rich and deeply rooted love knowing that in God’s timing He will give them beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, and praise instead of a spirit of despair.