Resilience needed in this season


By Kathy Monnin

Versailles News

Once again, we are in the holiday season. Perhaps this is the year you understand those that struggle during this time of year. If this is the case, it means you have either lost a loved one or someone you know is struggling with a life-threatening illness, and that someone may be yourself. In which case I am truly sorry. It’s like the youngster that still believes in Santa we want that childlike innocence to continue. No one ever wants the Christmas joy of others to fade or be overshadowed by heartache or pain. But real life has a way of changing things.

From my perspective, we have lost many good people in recent years. And for the surviving spouse, parents, children, families, and friends the loss is traumatizing. In a world of constant motion in which day becomes night and night becomes day it is difficult to cope with the pain, move through the bereavement and grieving process, and continue with the daily tasks of living.

Anyone who has lost someone close knows that grief never fully goes away, but one can learn to cope with it over time. But it will resurface around holidays and other important dates, or for no apparent reason at all.

Grieving is individual, its sting takes longer for some to move beyond than others. Consequently, grief can take a significant toll on one’s mental health or cause one inability to focus, eat, sleep, bathe, or other daily tasks, such as returning to work, and keeping up with their household bills and maintenance.

The worst thing that can happen to any parent is the loss of a child, regardless of the age of the child. A child is a symbol of the future and losing that child represents a loss of hopes and dreams. Although grieving a parent is different, it too is painful as we realize we no longer have their parental support, feeling orphaned.

To quote “The death of a spouse is different than other losses, in the sense that it literally changes every single thing in your world going forward. When your spouse dies, the way you eat changes. The way you watch TV changes. Your friend circle changes (or disappears entirely) Your financial status changes. Your job situation changes. It affects your self-worth, your self-esteem, your confidence, your rhythms, the way you breathe. Your mentality. Your brain function (ever heard the term ‘widow brain?’ If you don’t know what that is, count yourself very lucky.) Your physical body, your hobbies and interest, your sense of security, your sense of humor, your sense of womanhood or manhood. Every single thing changes. You are handed a new life that you never asked for and that you don’t particularly want. It is the hardest, most gut-wrenching, horrific, life-altering of things to live with.”

A good program for those interested in support and answers to your questions is GriefShare. I attended this Christian based program in Chickasaw, but Versailles will soon be offering this 13-week support group program. Participants meet weekly in the rectory at St. Denis Church. Each session is led by trained and caring people designed to help those who are dealing with a death, one of life’s most difficult challenges. The program offers practical insights, encouragement, useful advice, hope, tools to manage emotional challenges, and works through the grieving process with the aid of videos that discuss the different aspects and stages of grief. This is helpful in the weeks, months or even years that follow the loss of a spouse, child, family member or friend. There is also a workbook, which follows each video, offers you private insight and exercises in coping, while on your personal journey through grief. Take control of your life when the cards stop coming and people return to their lives leaving you alone in your pain. Learn resilience.

Unless you’ve experienced a significant loss, you do not know its magnitude, but sadly at some point, we will all experience this pain. For this reason, I am wishing resilience for everyone this Christmas. Resilience is important for it leads to success, it can give you a sense of purpose, keep you strong in times of adversity, increase your capacity to deal with or adapt in a positive manner, keep one from destructive behavior such as excessive drinking, smoking or drug use, elevate one’s attitude and self-esteem, and lead to longevity.

In my resilience I started a Widow(er)s group. It’s not a support group, but a group to empower widowed persons to discover their new identity, purpose, voice and place in society. Like-minded people who want to stay active and make enduring friendships.

Our immediate focus is on socializing with others. We go out for breakfast, lunch and other events, encouraging members to network with others to find common interests and make plans apart from the group, if they so desire.

The group primarily communicates through a private Facebook page, as well as text messages. Although the club’s focus is on widow(er)s we have allowed single or divorced persons to participate. Afterall we are simply people helping people to stay active and make beneficial friendships.

If you are interested in joining our widow(er)s group or would like more information concerning GriefShare please text (937/423-0914) or email ([email protected]) me.

“Grieving is the last act of love we have to those we loved. Where there is deep grief there was great love.” ~Unknown

“Grief is the loudest silence I have ever heard.” ~Unknown

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell, American Writer


Monday, Dec. 19, 1–3:30 p.m., Memory Lane Dance at the Greenville VFW. Music by Tom Everhart. Open to the public, $5 admission at the door.

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 9–10:30 a.m., (Widow/Widowers) Breakfast at the Wooden Spoon.

Friday, Dec. 16, 3, 5 and 7 p.m., a Christmas Laser Light Show at BMI Event Center. Free admission. Donations appreciated

Friday, Dec. 16, 5–7 p.m., Jen’s Burritos at the Ansonia American Legion followed by J-Bob’s Trivia from 7–10 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 17, 3, 5 and 7 p.m., Christmas Laser Light Show at BMI Event Center. Free admission. Donations appreciated. At 6 p.m. Comedian Mike Hemmelgarn will perform.

Sunday, Dec. 18, 1 p.m., an annual candlelight service at the Versailles United Methodist Church. All are welcome to join in Sunday morning service at 10:35 a.m. There will be a light luncheon after the service and prior to the candlelight service.

Monday – Friday, Dec. 19-23, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. are the final days of the Christmas Laser Light Show at BMI Event Center. Free admission. Donations appreciated.

Saturday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve vigil mass at local Catholic Churches. Check for times.

Sunday, Dec. 25, Church services/mass offered at all area churches. Check on times. Merry Christmas!

Happy birthday wishes to Nichole Lyme, Donna Wagner, Diane Schlater, Paula Varvel, Sharon Pepiot, Rick Alexander, Doug Ahlers, Lisa Frens, Floyd Monnin, Pat Wright, John Gues, Georgette Smith, Roger Melling, Adam Borchers, Ann Pedersen Forbes, Carol Schuh, Connie Stachler, Holly Finnarn, Nancy Grieshop, Lisa Barga, Ken “Louie” Kremer, Ryan Lundvall, Kim Fugett, and Baby Jesus as their birthdays approach as well as, anniversary wishes to Matt and Emily Barton (9), Toni and Sam Custer (42) and all couples celebrating anniversaries.

Please keep in your prayers Linda Harsh (74), Urban Gehret (88), and all those who have passed, including those whose anniversary of their passing is near. Please give your prayers of comfort and healing for the sick and suffering, for those who struggle, the caregivers and those who mourn the loss of their loved ones. Remember it gets easier, but the pain never goes completely away.

As an act of kindness, give a gift, (it doesn’t have to cost a cent.) It can be a thank you card, a poem, a Christmas ornament, or an entire Christmas meal. Anything will be something that makes them realize they are deserving of kindness and allowed to feel good about themselves.

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