A relatively new group in the Cayman Islands has emerged over the past few years that offers persons who are grieving an outlet for their emotions and an opportunity to heal within the setting of a group, a process that psychologists acknowledges can be a powerful and transforming experience.
“Full Circle is the only formal grief counselling group on the Island and as a result, the meetings are a bit more structured than what might transpire in other settings such as a church. It’s open to anyone who has lost a loved one. There is really no right or wrong way to grieve but we have found that the things that happen in a group setting and the change that occurs can be astronomical,” said group facilitator Terry Delaney.
He explained that Full Circle is an extension of Hospice Care and serves as a means of helping those who are grieving to improve their quality of life.
“We meet at the Conch Shell House every Wednesday at 6. There are currently 11 members and two facilitators,” said Delaney, who added that, “Everything is confidential, no records are kept and nothing is written down.
“Ultimately we want the people we come in contact with to know that the power of grief does not have to be negative and with all the folklore and tradition surrounding death,there seems to be a basic need for mankind to analyse death through the ages. Great comfort comes from doing that with others.”
Operations Manager for Hospice Care Jennifer McCarthy echoed the sentiment shared by Delaney and explained why it was important for Hospice to team with Full Circle: “Hospices globally offer bereavement services to their patients and their friends and families, but an extended service, of grief support or grief recovery, usually available to the community at large, and often for a longer period of time than the usual bereavement services that are usually provided. When we were offered the opportunity to get involved with the formation of a grief recovery group in Cayman, we knew it was an excellent opportunity for Cayman Hospice Care to expand our services.”
Full Circle was formed from members of the Our Angels Foundation and members of Cayman Hospice Care, recognising the need for such a service.
“Something happens in a group setting that can be incredibly healing. When people share their experiences and their journey of healing in a safe environment, the isolation so many can feel can be alleviated,” said McCarthy.
She added that having a professional counsellor facilitate the group can give people the confidence they need to ask harder questions and share deeper feelings. However within the group there is also a lot of laughter, another important component to the healing process says McCarthy.
“At Full Circle there is so much laughter. People hear grief recovery and often don’t realize how much healing takes place with laughter. Sometimes it’s about funny memories. Sometimes it’s about a ridiculous thing that was said by a well intending acquaintance, but laughter is a huge part of the journey,” said McCarthy.
She pointed out that tears were as much a part of the journey and highlighted that the prevailing quality evidenced in the group is warmth and the camaraderie that comes from the common goal of moving through the pain of loss and the healing. Hospice Care is committed not only to caring for patients but also to caring for the surviving family members, friends and colleagues after a loss. By offering a free service like Full Circle, Cayman Hospice Care representatives say they are trying to impact our community with the best possible care in this way.
“So often after a personal tragedy or loss we look to those closest to us for comfort and a way to relieve the pain of loss and the feelings of loneliness. Although intentions are good, they might not always be accompanied by the right skills to meet those needs. This group under the guidance of the grief specialist counsellor, can provide a place to work through these issues in a safe and healing environment,” said McCarthy.
“Ultimately we want the people we come in contact with to know that the power of grief does not have to be negative and with all the folklore and tradition surrounding death, there seems to be a basic need for mankind to analyse death through the ages. Great comfort comes from doing that with others.” Terry Delaney, counsellor