When Betty Everett lost her husband of 50 years, a friend encouraged her to go to GriefShare. At first she was against the idea. She didn’t want to be in a room full of crying people, she didn’t see how that would help.
But her friend kept insisting and offered to go with her, so she went.
“It was the best thing I ever did, because I thought I was losing my mind, and when I came out of that room the next day was the best day I’d had – not that everything was over, but it was the best day I’d had – because I felt like I wasn’t going crazy,” Betty said.
At GriefShare the night before, she had the opportunity to share her experiences and feelings in a room where she was surrounded by others who could nod in agreement and affirm that she was not alone and definitely not going crazy.
Despite her initial reluctance, Betty continued through the full 14 weeks of GriefShare, and went back for a second and third session. During her second go around, the leaders asked her to consider leading as a facilitator, an idea she pushed to the side and discredited her ability to do so. But during her third session, she felt the Lord speak to her heart and challenge her to step up.
That’s exactly what she did. Remembering the pain of her own grief, Betty thought that if she could help anyone get through a similar journey just a little bit easier, then her investment would be worth it.
As Betty facilitates GriefShare, she encourages real, vulnerable conversations through which God can work to bring healing and hope.
“We sit in the ashes with each other because we’re all hurting in that way, and there’s an understanding what we’re going through and we can stand side by side. I’m there for them, they’re there for me and other people as well, and we know that,” Betty said.
The experience has also driven her into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
“So what it does, it gives me a big prayer list, and I pray a lot for people,” Betty said. “They call me the prayer warrior, and my husband always said, ‘If you get on Betty’s list, you don’t get off until you die.’”
In addition to sending prayers to God, she sends cards of encouragement to different individuals (as the Lord leads), because she trusts and knows God knows their daily needs and when they need the extra boost.
Through all of this, Betty has been blessed and humbled to be part of God’s work in bringing hope and healing.
“I see people’s lives change. I really do see that. I don’t know that they see it right away, no more than I did, but I see their lives change,” she said. “I see them talking differently, I see the light in their eyes, I see hope in them.”
Seeing the impact of GriefShare, but also seeing how lonely it is after losing someone you love so dearly, Betty was inspired to start a new group for widows, focused on building a strong community where the ladies are able to continue to support one another.
“When you say, ‘How are you doing today?’ and sometimes you’re not doing so hot, you know,” Betty said, “but you have that person or persons that you can hold on to and they’re praying for you and getting you through the day, and it’s that closeness that get you through that time.”
That being said Betty would encourage anyone who has lost a loved one to come to GriefShare.
“I did not want to go, but I am so so grateful that I did because it changed my life,” she said. “I don’t think I would’ve gotten as far if I hadn’t gone.”
Learn More About GriefShare
GriefShare meets Wednesdays 7-9 pm. All are welcome to drop in and join the community.