Comforting Those Who Grieve

As a therapy dog, I am sometimes asked to comfort those who are mourning and Sunday was one of those days.

A few weeks ago, Doc had received a request for me to come to an event sponsored by The Columbus Public Health Department called the Mourning Walk, to reflect on the young lives lost to gun violence. From January 1, 2021 to September 21, 2022 in Franklin County, which includes Columbus, Ohio and it’s suburbs, we lost 66 youth ages 0-19. Of course I told Doc I would love to help in any way that I could, so we accepted the invitation.

The morning of the event we were jolted out of bed by loud claps of thunder and lightening and were worried the event might be canceled, but by the time we left at 9:30am the sun was shining, so off we went.

When we arrived at the park we were greeted by the person arranging the event. As we glanced down the paved walking path, we noticed 60 tiny pairs of children’s shoes representing those lives that had been lost. A sober reminder about why we were there. We met many nice people from other organizations that were also there to help, along with the people that came to honor those precious lives that had been taken so soon. It is always my intention to offer some comfort is some small way even though I can never take away all of the pain. I have learned that sometimes the best thing you can do when someone is grieving, is to show up, be present and listen.

” There are three needs of the griever: To find the words for the loss, to say the words aloud and to know that the words have been heard.” – Victoria Alexander


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