By Beth Murphy

I began working at First Hour Grief Response several months ago.  I really didn’t know what was going to happen – or what to expect but after meeting Lisa and Karen, I knew I wanted to take a chance.  There is no precedent for what they set out to do. I was open to – and very ready for – a change though. It was a good choice.

I am learning so much about grief and its’ many faces.  It is impossible to describe it unless you’ve been through it…but as I watch and listen, it is clear that people need people.   When I try to describe what I do to my family and friends, they’re usually pretty uncomfortable – because they think it’s sad work – and no one wants to talk about grief and loss.    I went through a short period of time when I wasn’t sure I could keep doing it. But as time goes by, I’m seeing many hurting people be helped by FHGR, Inc. And gosh, so many people carry this heaviness called grief on their shoulders each and every day.  Grief is everywhere, but so is hope.

Lisa and Karen have suffered paralyzing losses and now I am watching them use their gifts to help people who are going through what is possibly the worst days of their lives.  My outlook has changed and the way I feel about my job has changed. And yes, there is sadness, but this sadness has provoked very powerful conversations …conversations about grief, loss, hope and healing.

I’ve learned that talking about grief and telling your story could be the most powerful tool of all.  I have noticed people who have come into our office for counseling. When they arrive, they show physical signs of pain and hurt.  Then, after they have had a chance to sit down and tell their story, their physical appearance changes, their posturing is different, their expression and body language change.  

If you know someone who is grieving a loss, reach out gently.  Don’t be offended if you do not get a response at first. Be patient…it’s a journey.  Feeling uncomfortable about talking to someone who has had a loss is normal and I think we try to find a shelf in our brains to place our discomfort because we don’t know what to say.  We make it okay by telling ourselves that his or her grief belongs them, not us. That just turns into ignoring their loss because we don’t want to “bring them down”. What I have learned is that sometimes silence is okay.  Other times, talk about their loved one to them. And remember to listen, just listen.

I feel very blessed to do the work that I do.