It will hold its first meeting in February.
Frederick, Md (KM). Beginning in February, Hospice of Frederick County will host a support group for people who lost family members and friends to overdoses. “There’s a need for grief support. So people can come together, realize they’re not alone, talk about their feelings and be able to share their stories, which is so important,” says Linda Beckman with Hospice.
Overdose deaths are getting a lot of attention these days. Many people who once used painkillers prescribed by their doctors become addicted, and go on to heroin and fentanyl after their prescriptions have ended. And that can have deadly consequences.
Beckman says Hospice decided to set up this support group after an eight-week session. “And during those sessions, it was realized by myself and the whole Hospice team that there was really a need for an ongoing grief support group for overdoes deaths,” she says.
The support group will meet, starting in February, each Monday night from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM at the Hospice offices at 516 Trail Avenue which is near the main campus of Frederick Memorial Hospital.
Beckmman says there’s often a lot of stigma and guilt over losing a loved one to an overdoes, and many family members don’t want to talk about it. But it’s important for them to get passed it. “To hear other people share, other parents, other siblings, other family members and friends, share, ‘I feel guilty that I didn’t call, that I didn’t answer the call, 10-minutes before the call.’ These are situations that I’ve had to deal with,” she says.
But Beckman says it’s important for those involved to open up and share their experiences with others. “Talking, crying, sharing, is not only one way to deal with grief,”:: she says. “There are other ways to deal with grief that have to do with creative expression. Journaling, arts and crafts, scrapbooking, things like, that really can help move someone along their grief process. But they need to be able to share and not isolate themselves. So we want to open this up to the community and give people the opportunity to express themselves.”
But keeping it bottled up inside is not the way to go, she says. “People don’t realize that it’s not healthy to not share the story about how someone died. It’s really healthy to be able to share that,” says Beckman.” But we have a stigma–not just here in Frederick County; we still have a stigma all over the country–about overdose deaths. People don’t want to talk about it.”
Hospice encourages anyone who is dealing with the death of a family member or friend from an overdose to come to these support group meetings. Anyone who has questions can call 240-566-3037, or 240-566-303, and ask for either Linda or Denise.
By Kevin McManus