Toward the sunrising

Susan McClanahan, Director of the Cape Girardeau Senior Center and Nancy Gillard, Bereavement Coordinator, Crown Hospice are working together to care for friends and families after a loved one dies. "Sunrising" is a unique program in Southeast Missouri to offer grief support for friends that find fellowship at their local Senior Center. "When someone from the Center suffers a loss, their spouse or an adult child dies, we announce the loss out of our concern for the family and often a volunteer or friend we will say a prayer in that person's memory, but then there's nothing else to help the spouse to cope. We do the best we can but, no one really knows what to say." Working with Gillard, McClanahan is trying to meet an important need with "Sunrising". The group is offered twice a month, the second and forth Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. There is no charge for these meetings.

Gillard comments, "We considered calling the group "Toward the sunrising" but decided to shorten it to "Sunrising". I think it captures the idea that we can share messages to bring comfort to one another during the darkest days of grief. Our time together may not drive off all the dark but there might be glints of light that make the night more tolerable. It is not in anyone's power to make sorrow, "no sorrow", yet it is possible to take the edge off of it with a steady view of the rising sun." The format is a combination of discussion questions, teaching methods of getting through the grief process and unstructured fellowship.

Sunrisings is open to anyone of any age. "Grief is something we all understand. Most of us at the Senior Center know what it is like to lose someone close to you. We've all muddled through. Sunrising just helps so we're not going it alone." shares a Senior Center visitor.