On heels of student’s death, grief group forms

Robert Grant

Denial, anger, bargaining (the what ifs), depression and acceptance make up the five stages of grief, and the recently-formed Healing from Grief Group at Quinnipiac helps students through those stages.

The Healing from Grief Group, started by Protestant Minister Susan Fowler, gives students who have experienced death a chance to share their feelings. The group started Tuesday and will continue to meet for seven weeks in Tator Hall 106. After the second meeting, the group will close to newcomers to maintain intimacy, according to Fowler. Confidentiality is guaranteed for all who attend.

“In this context, it’s good to know that others are experiencing the same things,” said Fowler, who has a degree in pastoral counseling. “To know that it’s okay is a comforting thing.”

Having recently experienced grief herself, Fowler knows how helpful it is to spend time with people who understand where you are coming from.

The meetings begin with reflection on questions like “how are you experiencing your loss?” according to Fowler. Students have private time to reflect and then share their thoughts with the group.

The group helps individuals be proactive by taking steps to gain hope and strength.

“You have to discover a new normal,” Fowler said. “That person will no longer be there for family and friend gatherings and the group helps get you through that by providing support, resources and the presence of people.”

As a member of the ministry, Fowler will make herself available after the group is over.

“As chaplain, I am here for people as an internal resource,” Fowler said.

Following the passing of junior Nick Lucaj last December, Fowler noticed that several students in her class had difficulty coping with their grief, so she offered a service of remembrance.

“The service was not specifically in memory of Nick, but rather for all losses in recent times,” Professor Kenneth Venit said. “I had lost several friends and was able to think of them free of distraction and reflect on the roles they had played in my life.”