In losing my father, Edward Woods, Jr., I really had no idea on how to cope with grief and loss. I knew the rhetoric of what to say to others, but had no clue what to do for myself Friday, December 6, 2016. Yes, I believed and still believe in the power of prayer and faith. Nevertheless, I struggled.
Going through the mourning process, it caused me to gravitate to others who lost a parent. Jennifer Fordham, teacher at F.H. Jenkins Elementary School in Nashville; Dr. William J. Lee; senior pastor at Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chicago; Carla Sebro, Corporate Controller at Weitzman Management Corporation in Dallas; and Errika Jefferson, Principal Attorney at E. Jefferson Law Offices in Washington, D.C. represented my inner circle who experienced loss of a parent or parents.
After consulting with my mother and siblings, I pitched an idea of recruiting Drs. Trevor (pastoral counseling) and Edith (grief counseling) to provide a monthly conference call to cope with grief and loss. Instead of dealing with death alone, we discussed a group approach. My inner circle concurred and the Frasers agreed to facilitate the monthly call on the second Friday of every month at 9:15 p.m. (Eastern). We market the call through text messages, and the Facebook pages of Edward Woods Jr., Simply Support, and The Wakinda Fellowship.
“Past the funeral and well wishes of many people, coping with grief and loss could become an isolated experience,” counsels Drs. Trevor and Edith Fraser, professors or Theology and Social Work at Oakwood University. “We’re grateful to participate in this awesome ministry and appreciate the feedback that is making a difference for so many people.”
Through crowdsourcing or coinciding with the time of year, the Frasers address the topic and share tips and insights on how to cope with grief and loss. Topics could range from honoring the loved one during Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or during the Holiday Season to suicide or unresolved conflict with the deceased to whether obtaining counseling represents a lack of faith. Through a biblically based perspective, the Frasers respond to each question and sometimes participants may share their experiences. Unless voluntarily provided, no one is required to provide his or her name to participate.
Dr. Johnathan Henderson, family physician and member of the New Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rome, Ga, emphasized, “Thank you for setting up and planning these sessions. They are truly needed and have been very helpful.”
In our quest to minister to everyone, we failed to restrict the marketing and promotion of this line to Adventists. “It has been enriching to hear form others who have experienced the loss of a loved one,” states Pamela Hunter, retired JCPenney senior executive and member of the Inspiring Body of Christ in Dallas, Texas. “The Loss of a Loved One Conference Call helps to lessen the pain and loneliness that looms and gives you tools for the healing process. I’m grateful for this ministry.”
From my experience, I can honestly say you have never started living, until you experience loss. It brings into focus the difference between eternal life and perishing, and an appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His soon Second Coming.
If you would like to participate on the call, please call 515-739-1407, 387568 on the second Friday of every month at 9:15 p.m. (Eastern). In addition to the United States, you can access this line through a number of foreign countries as well. To learn how to access this line in a foreign country or to obtain and/or post resources about coping with grief and loss, please visit the Facebook page, www.facebook.org/edwardwoodsjr.
Edward Woods III started the Lost a Loved One Conference Call in honor of his dad, Edward Woods, Jr.