A Life, A Loss, A Story is an interactive workshop series for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one and is led by Full Circle Grief and Loss volunteer Debbie Rotkow.  Participants will have an opportunity to write and talk about their loss, their journeys and their future.  Since each participant in the group will have experienced a profound loss, they will be able to understand, support and value each other’s stories, everyone’s journey.  This series is composed of four 90-minute sessions.  Because it is important for all the participants to have an opportunity to interact with others in the group and have their stories heard, the series is limited to no more than seven people and no fewer than four.

Debbie says, “I am not a therapist, a social worker or a religious grief counselor.  I am a mother whose daughter died Wednesday morning, April 20, 2016.  I have designed and facilitated writing workshops since 1991 throughout the United States.  For 15 years I was Co-director of the Coastal Georgia Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, at Armstrong Atlantic State University.   I also co-designed and facilitated four writing workshop series (32 workshops), The Story of Our Lives, at the Learning Center at Senior Citizens.

Designing and facilitating these grief workshops is a gift to the memory of my daughter’s legacy and a way of coping with my own grief.  It was a natural progression for me to want to write about my daughter – her life, her story.  I wanted to write about the wonderful people who nurtured our family and the lessons we learned along the way.  And, finally, I wanted to write about how I made my way into my tomorrows. Moreover, I wanted to become part of a community who understood the pain of loss and feel comfortable sharing their stories as we work through our grief together.

Feedback from previous workshop participants has underscored the benefits for building these small grief workshop support groups.  As Rochelle, a former workshop participant, said, “A well-worth workshop to attend after the loss of a loved one-it lets you dig deep into yourself to realize all your feelings are normal and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Being with people who have experienced a loss makes you comfortable in what you share whether it’s verbally done or by writing down your feelings.” Or as Betty, a former workshop participant, said, “This workshop series helped me express my feelings, verbally and in writing it down.  I feel good about the others learning about my soul mate, Larry, knowing what a special person he was.”

Summing up her experience at the conclusion of the workshop series, Ava said, “These workshops made me move on.  They turned me around.”

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen say in their introduction to their book Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul:  “A miracle occurs when people bravely write their stories to share with the world.  In the process of writing them, they are reconnected with that which they have lost.  In the reading of their stories, others are connected to them.  And in the connection everyone feels less alone.  Each gains a little more strength for living their life and navigating their way through the challenges and over the hurdles of this journey called grieving.   My hope is that people who have experienced the profound loss of a loved one will find solace as I have in the opportunity to give voice to their journey.” ”

The next series of four classes is Wednesday, July 11 – Wednesday, August 1 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Full Circle Grief and Loss Center. Pre-register by calling 912.303.9442.