Community Bereavement Classes are scheduled for the four Monday evenings in October at Integris Grove General Hospital. The classes, starting at 7 pm and lasting till 8:15, are free and open to everyone and will meet in the downstairs Cotner Conference Center.

The four sessions include: “Bereavement Overview”, October ; “Spiritual Aspects of Grief”, October 13; “Telling Our Story”, October 20; and “Criteria for Reconciliation”, October 27.

The class facilitator is Gary Bishop, Chaplain at Integris Grove General, who has hosted over 40 sets of classes in addition to providing one-on-one sessions for hundreds of individuals.

“Some people think of loss as only when we lose a loved one to death,” Bishop said. “But the truth is, we all experience loss of some nature on an every day basis. Loss of time, production, and expectations can affect us as a death, but simply to a lesser degree.”

Bishop added that the bereavement classes are extremely educational for some and especially therapeutic for others. They are advertised ‘For everyone who has experienced a loss and for everyone who will’ because at some point every person does encounter a significant loss in life.

“It’s really fascinating to see people come to the classes ‘to learn about grief’ only to discover that they have some previous losses that they have not worked through in their life.”

“Working with people who are grieving is simply another aspect of ministry”, stated Bishop. “In my numerous encounters with people who have lost someone or something close to them, I have discovered their overwhelming need to share their hurts and needs. Unfortunately, society as a whole does not embrace grief and mourning, and people are desperately searching for someone who cares. A ‘trusting relationship’ truly develops when people share their deepest hurts.”

“What I enjoy most is seeing people leave that first class knowing that they are ‘not going crazy’ and that their grief is totally unique from anyone else’s grief.”

Bishop emphasized that he is simply the facilitator of the classes, and that the real teachers are the participants who share.

“What we know about grief is only what hurting people have decided to share. I ask people to teach me their grief by sharing their hurts with me. At the same time, no one has to share anything in the classes if they choose not to do so.”

“It’s also interesting to have people repeat the classes and share the new insights that they gain the second go-around, even though the majority of the class material is the same.”

Registration for the classes is not required but is suggested so that adequate materials may be provided. For more information, call 787-3497