COLUMN: Tracy Renee Lee - Nurturing Grief Recovery, Part I

by Tracy Renee Lee
COLUMN: Tracy Renee Lee  - Nurturing Grief Recovery, Part I

A support group is a scheduled gathering of people with common experiences and concerns.  It provides emotional and moral support, as well as, new perspectives on life, increased understanding of grief, and close personal ties. (Mourning Light I, 2016)

Support groups can be a wonderful tool in the process of grief recovery. In today’s reality, support groups have become the primary recovery support rather than one’s family and friends. The nurturing bonds found through familial and personal contact are eroding through the physical and moral separation of families and friends. This erosion decimates individual liberty, unconditional love, self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-reliance at a time when it is desperately needed. These characteristics are necessary for sustainable grief recovery and are rarely found through institutionalized group support systems.



Support group institutionalizes rather than personalizes grief recovery.

Its premise assumes that you either lack a group of adequately intelligent friends or family who are caring enough to assist you through your sorrow, or that you are incapable of intelligently understanding and communicating your needs to them so that they may effectively assist your recovery.

Moreover, it assumes that you are unable to adequately understand yourself intellectually, or comprehend your needs sufficiently enough to determine and act upon accomplishing recovery yourself. (Mourning Light III, 2019)


Support groups are designed to provide and pair survivors with others who find themselves in the same boat of sorrow and loneliness. This pairing provides the survivor with a pseudo familial network of strangers. Strangers, by definition, are incapable of intuitively knowing a survivor's innermost personal needs for recovery. Recovery is not accomplished through drowning one’s sorrows and loneliness with strangers. The most effective recovery is accomplished through self-determination in the application of sound principles of recovery while receiving and accepting the nurturing offered from those who know and love you.

Nurturing materializes through the selfless personal investments of those carrying unconditional love and applying unconditional attentive care for the survivor. One must be careful not to confuse personal contact, as in the contact experienced in a meeting of strangers or associates, with selfless personal investment. Selfless personal investment is found within kinship and lifelong friendships.

These relationships, kinship, and lifelong friendships carry the gift of longevity and have survived the tests of time and irritation. Longevity carries a working knowledge of your personality, your needs, your strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, loyalty and love reserved specifically for you. That is not to say that you may not find a new lifelong friend or connection within a support group experience, however, this developing relationship requires time and effort to materialize. Presently, the survivor is experiencing an immediate need, not a developing one. The survivor needs the advantages of longevity. In the absence of longevity, a support group facilitated by an experienced grief counselor is a viable alternative.