Angela Plys – Staff Writer
Benedictine University virtually hosted its Wellness Wednesday: Grief and Loss event about the topics of grief, loss, bereavement, and how to cope, on April 21. The event was led by Liz Sodaro, a licensed professional counselor and interim assistant director at the Counseling Center, with her two guests, Kathleen Neville and Bill Johnson, from Fox Valley Hands of Hope (FVHH), in Geveva, IL.
“At some point in our lives, we are all going to experience grief,” said Neville. “That’s just the reality of the world we live in.”
Neville then went on to explain the causes of grief, the different pieces of loss, common myths about grief, the physical and emotional toll of grief, and tools for coping with grief such as self-care or honoring a loved one. She also represented two available grief programs through FVHH, namely the Adult Grief Support and the Youth and Family Grief Support.
“The Counseling Center on campus is a free and confidential resource that’s available to students where you can meet with an individual counselor and you can start to unpack some of these things that Kathleen [Neville] started to talk about,” said Sodaro. “For employees of the university, they have an alternate option where they can work with the employee assistance program (EAP) that’s provided through ComPsych Guidance Resources.”
Johnson also shared his personal stories about dealing with the pains of loss and offered insight into the FVHH program, with many of the participants doing likewise by speaking about their own experiences with loss and grief.
“Talking is really what helps,” said Neville. “Understanding that there’s other people struggling like you are is really what makes you feel like you’re not losing your mind.”
Neville also explained the concept of grief brain: “It’s a real thing, that when you are experiencing grief, there’s things that happen to your brain: You are forgetful, doing homework is difficult, paying attention is difficult. Those are things you need to know about, so you don’t think ‘I’m losing my mind, I’m crazy.’ You are not losing your mind and you’re not crazy. You are grieving, and you are allowed to feel all of these things.”