David and Laura Tidd know all too well the pain many go through during the holidays after having lost a loved one.
The Tidds, both of whom were widowed at young ages, were married in 2013, and knew eventually they’d wanted to establish a grief share support group.
“But we were so busy, I just figured we’d wait until I retired,” David said. “But as I read the obituaries in the paper and see people on my route (he’s a mail carrier for the Iola post office) I realized there are people who really need something like this now.”
The Tidds have planned a “Surviving the Holidays” grief support meeting at 4 p.m. Sunday at Iola’s First Baptist Church, along with First Baptist Pastor Randy Johnson.
The non-denominational event is open to anybody, young or old, who has lost a loved one, “or if they know of somebody who is coping with loss,” David said.
The discussion will include a DVD presentation about coping with loss.
The Tidds will use the event to gauge interest in a regular grief share support group gathering after that.
As they note, both David and Laura benefited from attending such sessions after having lost their spouses. David’s wife died in May 2012; Laura’s husband in June 2011.
As fate would have it, both had been a part of different grief support groups when they met via a social networking site for Christians.
“It wasn’t how we originally met, but it was a draw we were both involved in,” Laura said.
And in another powerful coincidence, David had attended a support group in Chanute and was asked to consider forming one in the Iola area.
He returned home to call Laura, who then was living in Indiana.
“She was attending one in Dyer, Indiana, and they had asked her that same night about helping out with one there,” he said.
“This was something we always wanted to do together,” Laura said.
PARTICIPATION is dictated by each member, Laura stressed.
“The nice thing is that there’s not pressure to be a part of the discussion,” she said. “If somebody wants to come and not say anything, nobody will try to make them. You do what’s comfortable for you.”
She was the same way when she started attending grief sessions.
“The first few sessions I didn’t say anything,” she said. “But as you see the same people time and again, you start to feel a connection. Having lost a spouse at a younger age, I obviously had a lot of friends who had never gone through that. I found support from others who had lost someone. It was very helpful to find people just to talk.”
The sessions also are valuable to friends and acquaintances of the bereaved, David added.
“It’s actually good for people who are close to somebody who’s lost someone,” he said. “There are a lot of people who don’t really know what things to say, or not say, but they still want to help.”
IF SUFFICIENT interest remains after Sunday for future sessions, the Tidds will set up a 13-week grief recovery support group to cover a wide array of topics, from living with grief, the uniqueness of grief, God’s prescription and the top 20 lessons of grief.
Again, participants would not have to attend all 13, David said. Rather, they could find the topics suitable for them.
“Both Laura and I have been helped by this, and see it as a way to comfort others,” David said.
For more information, call the Tidds at 365-6004 or Pastor Johnson at (417) 353-8997.