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New support group starting in Alexandria this year

The group aims to help parents who have lost a child.

JanetGetz Butterflies.jpg
Janet Getz of Alexandria points to a butterfly on the Angels Across the USA Tour "Angel Van" when she was at The Compassionate Friends national conference in St. Louis in 2018. Contributed photo

When Janet Getz lost her daughter, Nicole, in a boating accident 10 years ago, she was helped in her grief by the group Compassionate Friends.

Now, with the assistance of Anderson Funeral Home, Getz is starting another support group to help parents who have lost a child.

The group will provide parents with "a time to talk about their loved ones," Getz said. "I think it's important that you still talk about the one that's gone, because they were living at one time."

The new group meetings will be held monthly at Anderson Funeral Home, and although there is no start date yet, Getz said she hopes to have it going in March.

Getz previously coordinated the support group that ran as a part of Compassionate Friends, which she said attracted between eight and 12 people each month.

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"We drew from quite a wide area," Getz said. "We had grandparents there who had lost their grandchild, we had people there who had lost their older son, we had a couple there who had lost 20- or 30-year-old children."

The Compassionate Friends group is no longer running in Alexandria, and Getz was contacted by Anderson Funeral Home last summer about starting a new group independent of Compassionate Friends.

Getz currently is working with Shannon Parent and Alan Iverson to get the group off the ground, and trying to get the word out about it.

In addition to support groups, Getz said area churches do "a really good job" of helping people.

There also are ways for people to commemorate their lost loved ones. For example, Getz said there is a bench dedicated to Nicole's memory in Noonan Park.

"It's really good of the park department to allow people to do that," she said.

Getz said people can also draw strength from others who have gone through similar circumstances.

"My mom just turned 91, and she had seven children, and she has three of us remaining. So my mom has lost four children, and she lost two granddaughters in three months," Getz said. "I looked at my mom's strength and thought, 'Well, if she's still getting up every morning, then I can, too.'"

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While a start date for the new support group has not yet been announced, Getz said she is already receiving feedback from people who plan to attend.

"From what I've heard from some other parents, they're really happy," she said.

An opening date for the group will be announced when it becomes available.

Related Topics: DOUGLAS COUNTYALEXANDRIA
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