Locals who need grief support invited to ‘A Day of Healing’

Losing a loved one is challenging for everyone, and Companions on a Journey Grief Support understands the needs of those who are grieving.

“With ‘A Day of Healing’ coming up on Sept. 30, we wanted to provide participants with an opportunity to spend a day with other people, to connect with others who understand what they are going through, participate in activities about self-care, and gain knowledge about coping skills. They will also learn strategies that will help them navigate through their grief journey,” said Shayna Thomas, director of operations at Companions on a Journey Grief Support.

Companions on a Journey Grief Support will host the day’s events 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Liberty Twp. The cost is $20 per person, and the fee includes lunch, snacks and the supplies needed for participants. The event is geared to those ages 18 and older.

Register at companionsonajourney.org. The deadline to do so is Monday.

Participants will find support, comfort and healing in a safe and compassionate environment. There will be several large group sessions, activities and some get-to-know-each-other conversations. There will also be breakout sessions based on the type of grief a person is dealing with.

Attendees will talk about topics such as the spiral of grief, and how to balance grief as well as the feelings and emotions that come with grief.

“A program like ‘A Day of Healing’ benefits people because they understand that they are not alone in their grief, that other people are dealing with it, and grief, often, is something that people are scared to talk about, and people don’t know how to bring up someone who has died, because they don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings, or say the wrong thing. So, coming to an event like this or any of our support groups allows the participants to know and understand that they are not alone in what they’re going through,” Thomas said.

Companions on a Journey Grief Support was founded by Sheila Munafo-Kanoza in 1997 after her first husband passed away after a long health battle. The nonprofit social service organization was founded in faith, is rooted in God’s love, and remains open to all.

Located in West Chester Twp., Companions on a Journey Grief Support serves bereaved and grieving individuals, families, schools, businesses and organizations throughout Southwest Ohio. The organization offers a variety of in-person support groups, events, and online programs. Visit companionsonajourney.org to view the calendar.

Companions on a Journey Grief Support began with adult groups, and quickly expanded to serve teens and children. The organization is now in over 60 schools throughout the Greater Cincinnati area and serves one school in the Dayton area.

“One thing that sets us apart from other grief organizations is we offer support at any point in their grief journey,” said Thomas. “Let’s say that you had a significant other that passed away six years ago. There are triggers all the time that might ignite that feeling of loss, or that hurt again. So, if somebody is dealing with that, or going through that, they can join our widowed group at any point. It doesn’t have to be six months after the loss, or two years after the loss. You can come into our group, and join us at anytime,” Thomas said.

Some people might join the meetings for a couple of months, and step out for a couple months. People can also come back, as needed. Meetings vary depending on the type of loss a person has such as widows, or bereaved parents.

“We try to be flexible and meet people where they are,” Thomas said.

Typically, the Companions on a Journey Grief Support programs are free to participants. The organization is supported by grants as well as individual and corporate donations. (With “A Day of Healing” there is a cost to cover food, snacks and the supplies for participants.)

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