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Support Groups Help Others Cope with Grief


Tuesday, May 3, 2016   

VALPARAISO, Ind. - Sooner or later, each of us will experience that dagger in the heart called grief, but learning how to pick up the pieces and move on is the goal of several Indiana support groups.

Amy Kowalisyn of Valparaiso lost a baby, Emma, in 2014, and founded an online charity with her husband. "Emma's Footprints" helps others cope with grief.

They then teamed up with another mom from Florida, to start an online support group.

Kowalisyn says #OnComingAlive began as a way to let people blog about the loss of a loved one, but now includes thoughts about all kinds of personal pain.

She says writing about what she was feeling helped her, and she knew it could help others, too.

"I started to find more joy in the world," says Kowalisyn. "And I think sharing that and letting people know that it can start to mend your heart and you can live life again is just so important for people to know."

She adds since Emma's death, the couple has been partnering with the Merrillville-based Legacy Foundation to raise funds and provide care packages to parents whose premature babies require extended stays in neonatal intensive care units.

Lori Ann Keiling is a certified yoga instructor, who teaches classes and workshops on how to deal with grief. She says people have been healing through yoga for centuries.

"Grief gets kind of lodged in the lungs and the heart and so, a lot of times when we start to gently, gently open up that area and get the energy flowing through there, people start to see some really dramatic results," says Keiling.

The Indiana Youth Institute says just over four percent of the state's kids are dealing with the loss of a loved one, and often lack the coping skills to properly process what has happened.

The institute hosts workshops to teach parents, youth workers and educators how to help children and teens grieve.

The next session is May 11 at Centenary United Methodist Church in Lebanon.

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