Session 3: practice of grief

Group work on grief and loss

Insights into grief and grieving well.


NOTE: the readings referred to throughout this study are from John Steward’s book “From Genocide to Generosity.” It’s available in paperback and Kindle format from Amazon



Prepare for this session by reading pages 15-18 and 23-29 from Chapter 1, Coping with Chaos.


Step 1

To have a good group discussion about grief we must feel safe and free. Review the agreements we’ve made to work well as a group. Add anything to our list that we now think is missing.


Step 2

Grief is important; it is an expression of the loss of someone or something we have loved or hoped for; the deeper we loved them, the greater is our grief.

Recall the signs of grief on Drusilla’s face (Prologue, pages xv-xvi)

‘Give sorrow words…’  (Shakespeare, Macbeth IV)

Now ponder privately for a few minutes:-

When I look in a mirror what emotions do my face show?

When I look into my heart what colour do I see there?

What weighs down my body?

Briefly share one of my thoughts with the group. Only tell what I wish to share.


Step 3

Reflect on pages 13-15 in Chapter 1, from Process, Journey, Possibility to the end of The Possibility of Reconciliation.

List the different words that describe aspects of grief.

Ask myself: what feelings of this kind are within me?

Safely share one feeling (or pass).


Step 4

The role of feelings and emotions on the path of grief. Read the section Looking Back on pages 21-23, then reflect together:-

What speaks to me from this reading?

What helps me get in touch with my emotions?

What am I feeling most strongly in me now?


Step 5

Spend 15 minutes in quiet and find a way to say or show what my body is telling me – by drawing in my notebook, making a collage, writing poetry or music, or developing a dance or mime. If I like I’ll share it with the group.


Step 6 

Grief’s emotions: look at the left hand side of the chart (Don’t worry just now about the right hand side – we look at that next time). Observe the feelings that I can experience in a time of grief.

Talk in pairs about how these difficult feelings can press down inside when they stay in our body.

We cannot heal what we cannot feel. Dale Bronner


Step 7

Now recall what we read in Eyewitness to Transformation (pages 23-25).

What touches me from Josephine’s story is…

What symptoms do I notice from my own grief?

Share what I can.


Step 8 

Reflection and feedback. Did I get an insight on my life today?

If so, what new meaning does it bring to me?

Can I express what I am feeling now?

What I will tell my support person after this session is…


Step 9 

The preparation for the next session is: read again the Insights from Josephine (pages 27-29) and Munyeli (pages 49-52). Then make a collage, do a drawing or write a poem of ‘what speaks to me in this reading.