Fundraiser and day of awareness to help with grief
Helping families to cope with grief and loss has become the mission of Muriel Williams, a retired nurse who qualified as a grief support specialist after noticing the depth of need in the community.
Ms Williams and her Grief Response Ministry Team will mark grief awareness day on August 30 with an island-wide fundraising campaign for the charity.
“As I just explained to my niece, we have a hurting island,” Ms Williams said.
“So many times it’s not being addressed. I am doing my little part.”
After a career as a nurse and working closely with people, Ms Williams said she witnessed first-hand the need for grief support.
“Talking with people, I always find that everyone surrounds them in the first few weeks, and then they can be on their own.”
The ministry grew out of the Midland Heights Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Hamilton parish, where members would offer support to the community across the Crawl area.
Ms Williams said: “It just grew from there. I decided I had better start doing courses.”
She is not a grief counsellor, but rather has qualified as a grief support specialist and grief educator.
“I think that when people are grieving, and this is my opinion, not everyone needs counselling — they need support.”
Ms Williams said her expertise from nursing helped.
If she encounters a situation where the level of need goes beyond her role, she refers people to other services for assistance.
In 2020, her budget allowed the team to call on 37 different families hit by grief as they faced their first Christmas without a loved one, and bring them a gift basket.
That number grew to 80 families in the following year.
Ms Williams attends conferences overseas and brings what she learns back home to help the community face grief.
She has become a pet-loss bereavement specialist, and helps those in need through the faith-based GriefShare support group online.
Ms Williams said she sees her charity as “a ministry for a need in the community”.
“I’m just grateful now I’m retired that I have time to go and see people.
“I don’t charge for it — I’ve always been a community service person.”
On August 30, volunteers will be fundraising for the tag day from 8am to 6pm.
Locations will include MarketPlace stores, the Harrington Hundreds supermarket, both Lindo’s supermarkets, the Somers Supermart in St George’s and the Collector’s Hill Apothecary.
• For more information or to volunteer for the cause, Ms Williams can be reached on 504-3627. Her team can be e-mailed at email@example.com