Monday, August 27, 2018

Voices of Experience: Goodgrief App to Connect The Bereaved

By Robynne Boyd

Healing yourself is connected with healing others.  ~ Yoko Ono

Did you know that August 30th is National Grief Awareness Day? This is a day to honor the gravity of loss and the power of love. I cannot emphasize enough that grief is as natural as love. It is a normal part of losing a loved one. Grief is normal. You are normal. And, you are going to be okay. That’s not to say that anything about grief is easy. It’s not. It’s a hard and sometimes treacherous journey. That’s why it’s helpful to find others who get it. You are not alone. That’s why Kim Libertini and I created Goodgrief app, the social network application enabling grieving people to privately connect, chat and support each other through text messaging on their mobile devices. This is our story:

Kim and I know firsthand that grief is hard, and can be very lonely. Kim lives in New York and I live in Georgia. Over two years ago, a mutual friend introduced us by a text message. The friend knew that we were each going through our own personal and devastating losses. My mom was dying from metastatic breast cancer, and I’d also recently become a single mom. Kim, who had lost her mom and previously her marriage, awoke one morning to find that her life partner had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.

Neither of us was okay. We were devastated, hurting, angry, confused, shaken and stripped raw. Yet, life must go on. We still had children to care for, jobs to do, groceries to buy, games to attend, and teeth to brush. At the same time, there was a volcano of emotions below the surface that would bubble and erupt at the most surprising moments. I cried all over Atlanta. I still do sometimes. Kim was more likely to let grief’s weight descend at the end of the day once duties were done.

So, we started texting about grief, and all its accompanying emotions. We started with loss, loneliness and our despair. There was nothing either of us could say that would shock the other. We were both in deep grief. It seemed almost natural to find another person right in the thick of devastation and heartache and name what was going on text-by-text. It became this surprisingly comforting way to express a non-diluted version of grief where we didn’t have to worry about burdening our families and friends. Those days turned into months and then years. As time went by our friendship grew deeper.

At some point, we realized we had lucked upon something cathartic. And so we decided to create an app that replicated this possibility for others. We want you to also have a safe place where you can talk about love and loss with others who get grief. All too often people are left to navigate the emotional rollercoaster of grief alone. Finding others who personally understand loss makes all the difference.

The Goodgrief app works by putting you in touch with others who lost their spouse, parent, sibling, child, relative, or friend due to a variety of causes. Create a private profile by answering questions related to your loss. Then, connect to other people through one-on-one in-app texting and photo sharing. Your private information is never seen publicly and chats are private and secure. Additional filters narrow your connections by age, gender, religion, time frame, and type and cause of loss, so you can find others like you. 

The app is offered at $4.99 a month and is available through the iOS App Store, on Google Play  or at Goodgriefapp.comSign up now to receive our special offer of three months' subscription service for free; after that the cost will be $4.99 each month. 

You're invited to start chatting today. If you or someone you know needs this app, please help us spread the word!

We hope you find comfort, support, and understanding along this journey way. And please remember that the human heart is a powerfully resilient muscle. Let’s move forward together. You’ve got this.

© 2018 by Robynne Boyd

About the Co-founders: 

Kim Libertini, Co-founder of Goodgrief app and high-school science teacher, knows grief all too well. In a ten-year time frame, she lost her father, mother, her marriage, and most recently her life partner. Navigating the grief path as a single mother of two boys, ages 9 and 11, has proved challenging. Kim understands that validation, support and understanding are essential because grief doesn't go away. At the foundation of Goodgrief app is the idea that #youarenotalone in loss. She lives in Huntington, NY.

Robynne Boyd, Co-founder of Goodgrief app, lost her mom to metastatic breast cancer in 2016, and became a single mom around the same time. She is a journalist, who writes about environment and energy issues in the South for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Robynne lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her two boys.

Instagram: @goodgriefapp
Twitter: @goodgriefapp

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© by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, BC-TMH 

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