Support group helps those dealing with loss

"I NO longer feel I'm grieving alone."

That was one of the most heartfelt pieces of feedback Del Marie McAlister said she had ever received from a bereavement support group member.

Ms McAlister, who has a background in bereavement counselling and has written a book on the subject called Forever in my Heart, said a good support network was one of the most important things for someone who had faced a significant loss.

"One of the main needs for someone who is grieving is to have a support network," she said.

"It's absolutely vital. Some of these people have family, and some of them don't."

Ms McAlister said a support network of people who were undergoing, or had undergone, similar loss can make a huge different to someone's grieving process.

"People just don't understand what its like," she said.

"And to be with a group of people who are walking a similar journey, who are also grieving the loss of someone very significant to them is really beneficial to their grieving process."

Ms McAlister has been running a support group called After Loss for anyone who has lost a partner or close friend or family member.

Having lost two siblings to cancer and her father to a heart attack, Ms McAlister has a good understanding of the pain of personal loss and the benefit of having people around who have experienced similar bereavement.

"These people get to share their common experiences with grief," she said.

"We talk about the various emotions people go through and the fact that they've now got the support group that's meeting a need."

The bereavement support groups are held on the first Saturday of every month (except January) from 11am at St Mary's Anglican Church in Ballina.

For more information contact 6686 2094.