Lately I’ve been obsessed with the show “Chopped”. The challenge on Chopped is to take a basket of unrelated ingredients and make something tasty out of them in a limited amount of time. It might seem like a stretch to some of you, but I related that to my bereavement support groups. A group of strangers to each other enter into a trust covenant within the support group and it’s my role to create a cohesive and supportive group in a limited amount of time. Going further into my mind (scary, I know), it occurred to me that I could combine my passion for cooking and feeding people with my passion for those who are bereaved and create a time-limited support group around a four course dinner.
Stay with me now….
I’ve been facilitating bereavement support groups for a number of years now. Without fail, someone always suggests bringing in food on the last of the six group meetings. It’s always a very social time and usually the participants exchange contact information — something I strongly encourage. Often, the group itself is the first step back into a kind of social life for the grievers.
Combining these two ideas has resulted in my newest idea: “Food Group”. My usual six week support group will be condensed into the time it takes to complete a four course meal – about 4 or 5 hours. I’ll do the cooking and my participants will do the eating and the talking and the sharing and the supporting…all facilitated by moi. Hopefully, they will bond by the end of the meal and exchange information to keep in touch.
There is something very homey and warm about gathering around a table and breaking bread together. I’m both Sicilian and Jewish – two cultures for which food is central to how we support each other. We gather together to eat when celebrating and when mourning. When sick and when well. Both cultures feed a cold and feed a fever! I’d like to extend that hospitality to those who are grieving and who are ready to step out for a meal with other grievers for companionship, sharing, learning and support….and hopefully a continued bond with each other long past the dinner….
Please call me at 1.315.765.6530 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or for more information. This group is open to any adult who has experienced the death of someone they love. Registration IS required by October 16. The fee for the group and the meal is $50.00. Space is limited to 9 participants. The dinner will take place in either North Utica or Marcy. (I haven’t yet decided on which of three options to choose.)
Copyright 2015 Lisa B. Wolfe, LMSW, Translating Grief, LLC