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From grief to growth – Ministry of Consolation workshop

“Focus your energy on your inner growth,” candid words conveyed by Bereavement Counsellor Cerid Sampson to participants at the ‘From Grief to Growth’ workshop hosted by the Ministry of Consolation (MoC), St Charles Borromeo RC Tunapuna.

The virtual event was held on May 25 with the active support of the Episcopal Delegate for the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission, Tricia Syms and the professional support of Sampson, a Bereavement Counsellor with the Belgrove Group of Companies. Sampson is also the CEO of CS Grief Counselling Services.

Participants comprised persons throughout the Archdiocese who experienced loss and are in the grief process. A testimony of such an experience was shared by Jamila Bannister, founder of The Beautiful Market, retailing hair and beauty products for women who live with hair loss.

Bannister spoke about how, with prayers and the grace of God, she was able to manage the grief process after being diagnosed with cancer followed by the loss of her job, and the loss of her hair.

Out of this seeming darkness there was light and employing all her marketing skills and abilities, she forged ahead realising the birth of a business that caters to the needs of other women who are similarly affected.

Following her testimony the ‘Glass of Water Story’, a video shared by MoC’s team leader Barbara Wafe, highlighted the need to let go of the things that are out of our control.

Sampson was up next. She engaged participants on the topic ‘It’s all about you’. Addressing the stages of grief, she acknowledged that the grief process is slow and takes both courage and strength to grieve.

She encouraged participants to do nice things for themselves and to be gentle with themselves as well. She closed this segment, quoting Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Through breakout rooms in smaller groups, participants had the opportunity to interact and discuss, ‘Where am I on this journey?’. The group’s experience was shared on resumption of the plenary session revealing their similarities as well as differences during the grief process but with the assurance that they were not alone.

Resuming the discourse, Sampson spoke on ‘growth’ urging participants not to conform to external standards —“be who you want to be in that loss.” She emphasised acknowledging the pain of your loss, letting your grief pour out of you. Just like a kettle of boiling water, we need a release for our grief, she said. Sampson pointed out that obsessing over the past and what could or should have been done does not help you to grow. She said honour the spirit of love between you and your loved one by continuing the things that they stood for or inspired you to do.

Msgr Esau Joseph brought the evening to a close with a brief reflection on the Word and a reminder of Jesus’ promise: “I will be with you always, till the end of time.”

Team MoC records our heartfelt thanks to everyone whose contribution and efforts ensured the success of our workshop.

—Manuelita Gomez Thomas