For thousands of years we have gathered in circle--around fires, around bodies, around altars--because we can't do this alone. ~ W. Muller

Having served as moderator for our online Grief Healing Discussion Groups for several years, I’m often asked by clients and colleagues to explain how and why online grief support can be so helpful to caregivers and those anticipating or coping with loss.

I think the very individuals who’ve found their way to our site are the ones who can describe most eloquently whatever benefits they've discovered there.

I’d like to share with you what several of our members have had to say about our individual forums, which have been online and serving the bereaved since 2003.

The following comments—spontaneous and unsolicited—are just a sampling of those I've gathered over the years. They were taken from actual posts our members have shared with one another in our forums over the last six months:

I find comfort going to the grief support web site because it gives me faith in knowing that this emptiness will not last forever . . . Thank you for giving your gift of listening.
This is a very special place, we share with one another our raw pain, the things we go through, our feelings, pretty much everything, and we are supportive of one another in our grief journeys. These people here are like a family, ever growing, and ever changing . . . None of us are alone here.

One of the things I like about this forum and all of the different people that comprise it, with all of our differences, is I get to learn something from each of you. Each person I touch base with expands me. I feel blessed to have each one of you here.

I have said before that I wish we could all be close enough to comfort each other with hugs and words of understanding. But, this forum is the next best thing.

Thank you again it means a lot to me to see others care and more so that they understand . . . I'm glad I found this fourm everyone has been so supportive and that helps a lot right now. Its nice to know people are there to listen and I'll gladly do the same for anyone else.

We are all just a post away, regardless of where we live. Some of us are up in the middle of the night and we all have different time zones, so I hope you know there will always be a listening ear here.

This site has helped me to wake up each morning with the thought that before the day is over I'll focus on just one positive. I don't know if that will happen each day but it's a good way to get through this fog.

It is sad that we are aligned in these feelings, but so comforting to be able to be honest SOMEWHERE -- and to be understood and feel cared-for . . . Writing on this site, and receiving the understanding and support from wonderful people like yourself remind me that I am NOT alone. I may not know you personally, but you are here for me -- and I am here for you -- along with many others on the path with us, and we're not tired of listening.

I found this site in April, while recovering from some surgery. I want to thank all of you who post here for the help and hope your messages provide. What you share, your feelings, concerns, experiences, positives, lessons learned, ups and downs, cries, the constant reminders to take good care of myself and more, have all helped me as I progress through my first year.

It was not too long ago when I lost my [spouse] and felt pain unlike any I experienced before. I came to this group from a Hospice brochure given to me from a volunteer. It took me a while to get here and now I find such comfort in sharing with others in this group. Although we have a common purpose for being in this group, we all joined at different times, giving viewpoints from different stages along the journey.

I feel like many of you are marching with me and it feels good not to be alone.

It's been my lifeline since losing my dad. Nobody here ever judges, ever gets sick of hearing how sad life is and how much we miss our loved ones.

It does help to come here and vent. It is easier expressing yourself here than to family and friends who really don't want to listen anyway.

I am not sure how I would get through this all without you guys to talk to. I can't really talk to my friends about this all and my mom is willing to listen, but I think it makes her sad when she hears how messed up I feel sometimes. Knowing you all have experienced this, or at least your individual version of this grief makes me feel safe to be honest and raw with you all when I need to.

I also return often to this forum because, though I cannot bring myself to talk about my experience, I weep with those who mourn and I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone in my own feelings of extreme sorrow and guilt.

This is a great place to share your feeling. There is no judgement here and no one telling you what you have to do, should be doing and all that stuff people who have not suffered the loss of a spouse or partner are so quick to share.

I think this forum helps and knowing people that have gone through, or are going through, the same thing help. I started thinking I was truly losing my mind and then found out it was a normal part of the process.

It helps me in my own sadness and pain to pause often and remember others are in pain also, it does not diminish my pain but reminds me that I am not the only one hurting...that is why this forum helps me a lot.

Seven years ago today was the hardest day of my life. I didn't think it possible I'd survive, but I did, with a lot of help from this forum.

This is a wonderful site and I think you will find support here from people who understand how you are feeling. I lost my [beloved] over six yrs. ago and still come to this site to help others or find someone to listen when I need it.

I know it will take time and I accept the bad days with the good days. Being a part of this group helps me on those bad days. Reading the messages shared allows me to channel my feelings toward other's pain, along with learning ideas from others on how to possibly move forward.

None of my family has reached out to me. Im glad I found this site and just writing this and getting it out feels a little bit better.

This forum with its loving and non judgmental people who really understand because we are all in the same boat...is and was a life saver for me.

I'm so Thankful to be able to come to this site, and connect with you (and others here), to receive comfort, concern, and understanding, and read information that allows me to gain much-needed insight.

I truly feel your best bet of finding support is going to someone who has walked this path. That is why I am so grateful to this board. I know you all understand.

Thank you for letting me share this. I found this forum because I've been feeling so alone with this. Nobody who hasn't experienced this can even begin to understand or relate to it, and they'd frankly rather not, even your best friends, even your family sometimes. I've been feeling like I'm in the Phantom Zone. It helps so much to be able to share this with people who understand. I can't tell you how good it feels just to be in a place where everyone truly knows and understands.

Well...I made it through the weekend. It wasn't easy, but knowing that I have the support of those I have connected with (and even those I haven't) on this site, really helped me get through it. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers . . . Grief is so difficult. I am very Thankful for this website and the wonderful people here.

The support here is unique in that everyone understands the sadness, grief, pain, loss you are experiencing and it is available 24/7.

I guess we don't have to really get through this by ourselves -- we may be online -- and anonymous -- but we do all have each other, and [our moderator] to lean on through our writing.

I appreciate when people here tell their grief stories at some length. For me it's like a banquet of ideas, and I particularly value how people give verbal expression to their emotions. This helps me think through and feel my own grief in a systematic way.

I'm grateful for my friends here and for the support I get. When I leave because I'm feeling too miserable to be around, I'm always welcomed back. It feels safe.

This site has been a God send to say the very least. I am so greatful I found it and the wonderfully caring and supportive individuals that also are here, including you! Thank you for having such a place for us to be able to come and express ourselves and have a place to say what we can't always say to our loved one or people in our lives that don't understand for one reason or another.

We've all been through so much together over the years. I know some people wonder if I'm not stuck in my grief, still coming here, but I'm beyond worrying about what other people think, I find that in this place we are all here for each other and it matters not exactly where we are in our journey, let alone how long. What the rest of the world doesn't understand is no matter what we do or how we choose to do it, the journey is ongoing.

This site was so helpful to me and I still come back when I need support. Keep coming here, read old posts...you are not alone.

I have gone back and re-read my posts . . . it was good for me to see how far I have come. What was surprising to me was at the beginning I have no memory of writing some of my posts. Some of them were very scary to me because they didn't even seem as if it was me.

If you are searching for a safe place to take your grief, I encourage you to pay a visit to our online Grief Healing Discussion Groups. And if you decide to join us, know that you will be welcomed with open arms and caring hearts.

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
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