POMC local Chapters hold monthly meetings, provide a telephone network of support, supply information about the grief process, organize a speakers’ bureau and provide accompaniment for survivors who attend court proceedings. Many Chapters publish their own newsletter.
In areas where there are not enough members to sustain a Chapter, Contact Persons provide much of the same level of support.
Most meetings begin with introductions and each survivor telling of his/her loss. Often there is a topic to guide discussions such as the grief process, the criminal justice system or favorite memories. Usually meetings revolve around group member’s own knowledge and experiences but occasionally outside speakers are invited to present information and to learn from survivors.
One member said “In the meetings, people are so supportive, you don’t have to be afraid to say what you feel. No one is there to judge your feelings or to persuade you to think differently.”
A reporter described a meeting in Wisconsin: “These mothers and fathers talked about their feelings of anger, hopelessness, bitterness and their seemingly endless grief. No one told them ‘Forget about it’ or ‘You should be over that by now’.
As members help one another by sharing experiences, feelings and insights and by allowing others to do the same, their grief is somehow lessened.
GUIDELINES FOR A POMC SUPPORT GROUP MEETING
- THIS IS A SAFE AND WELCOMING PLACE AND REMEMBER THAT WHAT IS SPOKEN HERE
- SHARE ONLY AS MUCH AS IS COMFORTABLE FOR YOU AND IF YOU FEEL PRESSURED TO TALK AND DON’T FEEL LIKE IT, FEEL FREE TO SAY SO.
- THE STORY YOU CHOOSE TO SHARE OF YOUR LOVED ONE/S IS TRUE AND UNIQUE AND IS NOT OPEN TO COMPARISON.
- YOUR GRIEF IS UNIQUE TO YOU AND WE WILL AVOID GIVING ADVICE.
- WE WILL LISTEN AND NOT INTERRUPT SO THAT EACH OF US HAS EQUAL TIME TO SHARE
AND NO ONE WILL MONOPOLIZE…EACH OF US NEED TO BE HEARD.
- LISTENING TO OTHERS CAN BE A GOOD GROWTH EXPERIENCE.
- YOUR PERSONAL SPIRITUALITY AND BELIEF SYSTEM IS YOURS AND IS TO BE HONORED. THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ARE NEITHER RIGHT NOR WRONG…THEY ARE YOURS AND ARE
TO BE RESPECTED.
- THIS IS A SUPPORT GROUP BUT IT IS NOT A THERAPY GROUP. SUPPORT MEANS WE WILL WALK WITH EACH OTHER, ACCEPT OUR DIFFERENCES YET, ACKNOWLEDGE THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT BRING US TOGETHER.
- GRIEF IS A PART OF LIFE AND IT IS NOT A PATHOLOGICAL ILLNESS.
- ANGER, DEPRESSION AND OTHER FEELINGS ARE REAL EMOTIONS DURING THIS JOURNEY OF GRIEF WE ARE TRAVELING AND WE PROMISE TO SIMPLY BE HERE BESIDE YOU WITH OPEN HEARTS FILLED WITH COMPASSION, OPEN EARS WILLING TO LISTEN AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OPEN ARMS OFFERING HUGS OF SUPPORT FOR AS LONG AS YOU WANT IT.