Empty Arms' Bereavement Support Group
WHEN: The fourth Wednesday of each month from 7-9 PM. During November and December, we meet on the third Wednesday of the month. Please always check the calendar to confirm!
WHERE: We're located at the Florence Arts and Business Building, 140 Pine Street, Room 2B (basement level), in Florence, MA. There is plenty of free parking behind the building.
WHAT: This group is free & open to all families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss at any stage.
ABOUT THE FACILITATORS:
Carol McMurrich suffered the loss of her first child in May of 2003, a stillbirth following a cord accident during labor. In the early years she craved the company of others who had experienced losses and still feels nurtured and fulfilled by being part of a community of parents who have experienced the death of their baby. Carol has been to multiple trainings offered by Share, Inc. on compassionate caregiving, and is a trained MotherWoman facilitator.
Emily Brownlow first came to Empty Arms in January 2013, after the stillbirth of her daughter Ruby. For years, she attended meetings every month, and connected with other families for support and friendship. Emily is a member of the peer companion team, supporting newly bereaved families through their losses in hospital settings and assisting hospital staff with memory making opportunities. She recently graduated from UMass with a nursing degree.
Below, you will read the principles for the Empty Arms Bereavement Meeting. Our principles are the best way to communicate the shared values that are upheld at group meetings, as well as to give you a sense of what to expect from participants during the course of a given evening. Strict confidentiality is expected from all group members, and participation in the discussion is totally optional.
Bereavement Support Group Principles
At Empty Arms, we know that losing a baby is an isolating and devastating experience. In our meetings we support bereaved parents by naming the incredible challenges they are experiencing, knowing that this group is one of the few places where parents can speak the truth about the depth of their emotions and the details of their experience.
We believe that speaking the truth about the heartbreaking journey of losing a baby is essential. Healing comes through understanding what we have been through and what may lie ahead. By speaking about our experiences they can become integrated into who we are and allow us to move along. We celebrate breaking the silence that bereaved parents have been historically subjected to.
In these meetings we accept you all as you are, where you are. We know that people come to our groups with different backgrounds, belief systems, family makeup--and as facilitators and as an organization, we welcome those distinct differences. Similarly, we honor all losses, and we never compare one loss to the next. Regardless of the gestation or age of our baby when he or she died, we all hoped that we would have a lifetime with the child growing within us. We respect that each and every person’s experience is uniquely challenging in its own right. We ask that you hold all life experiences, as well as loss experiences, with respect.
We believe that grief takes many forms. Emotions such as deep sadness, anger, confusion, longing, and even a sense of intermittent peace can all be normal parts of grieving. No one person grieves like another. We believe each person has the right to follow the path of grief they are most comfortable with.
We respect that each person has his or her own comfort level for sharing emotions and stories. We believe that the very act of coming to this group demonstrates each person’s commitment to their own growth and healing, whether they share a little or a lot. We believe that this extends into the greater world, where each bereaved parent should be liberated to share the pieces of their story and their child in a way that feels comfortable to them.
We believe that each one of you has the inner wisdom and courage to come out into a brighter place, without ever forgetting the baby that you lost.
Please feel free to call Carol at 413-570-0811 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.