Did you know that The Fount is the home of a support group for grieving mothers? The Orange County chapter of Umbrella Ministries meets here once a month to provide support for mothers who have experienced the loss of a child. Have you even heard of this ministry? I had never heard of it until I was in need of it and a friend directed me there. It is the kind of support group that everyone hopes they are never in need of, but they are glad to find when they are in need. While I never thought of myself as a support group kind of person, I found that when I lost my son, Dominic nearly five years ago, I was in desperate need of support from people who had walked that road before me. I didn’t experience participation in a support group as optional; I needed to talk to people who truly understood such a deep loss and who were able to find joy again.
While there are several secular online support groups for grieving parents on Facebook, I found them to be incredibly hopeless and depressing. They were not a place of healing, but of agony and endless lament. Lament is legitimate and even biblical, but in those groups, I observed that unending lament without hope in Christ was a downward spiral.
Umbrella Ministries on the other hand offers comfort, hope, and fellowship while encouraging moms to lean into Christ, without dismissing the true depth of the pain and loss they are going through. We learn that “Time heals all things” is a lie and that true healing requires effort, patience, faith, and honest dialogue with God. Together we come to realize that life is not joyful or sorrowful, but it is usually a combination of both. We also come to realize that a part of healing is giving back to others, which is why I’m now a co-leader for the Orange County Umbrella Ministries group. That does not mean that I’m in any way “over” the loss of my son or that I have all the answers for anyone else who loses a child, but it means that with the help of God, I can use my experience to help other mothers find their footing when they are feeling lost in the fog of grief.
Umbrella Ministries is completely volunteer run and started 25 years ago right here in southern California. I genuinely hope that you never know anyone who suffers the loss of a child, but if you do, there is a ministry that you can refer them to (and not just in Orange County). To learn more about support groups and weekend conferences for bereaved mothers, go to Umbrella Ministries-Reaching out to mothers who have lost a child
There are also resources for those who experience other loses (spouse, parent, friend, etc). GriefShare – Grief Recovery Support Groups – GriefShare is a world-wide, Christ-centered group/study for those who have lost a loved one.