SIKESTON - When someone you love dies, everything changes.
Linda Bounds, Phyllis Bright and Don Rodgers have been there. All having lost their spouses within the last four years, they've felt the loneliness, the anger and the fear.
But the three friends refuse to let these feelings take over their lives and have combined energies to form a tri-county support group to let those who've lost loved ones know there really is a brighter tomorrow.
"I lost my husband in 1998, Don's wife died two years ago and Phyllis' husband died last year so we know what it's like," said Bounds, who pointed out the closest support group is in Cape Girardeau."
Although other support groups were formed here, members soon lost interest and the groups went by the wayside. But this support group will be different, assured Bounds. Rather than focus on the loss and grief, it will concentrate on enjoying life, an attitude the three have found to be their saving grace.
Bounds stressed members in no way will be encouraged to forget, but to continue forward and utilize the time they have.
"If someone comes and wants to talk about what they're feeling then that's fine. But what we want this support group to be is one that will help people get beyond the grief. I can't just focus on my loss and that's all, I have a 10-year-old I have to raise. I have to be thankful that I'm alive. What helps is knowing that my husband's spirit is always here with me and that's the good part."
Although plans have not yet been finalized, the newly-formed grief recovery group is set to begin in two weeks and will meet once a week. There will be no dues.
"So many people have lost loved ones and that first year people say is the hardest and people kind of take care of you. But that next year is hard, too. For me, it was the hardest," Bounds said. "Our group won't be based on any religion or belief and no one will be there to judge. We've all been through basically the same thing. We're just going to have fun," Bounds said.
"I think the hardest part about the loss is always thinking about it. If we can go to fun places ortake trips somewhere, it will help fill our time rather than dwell on that grief. We are going to try to look at the positive side and to prove that we can make it through this period. What you need to do is fill your life with positive people who have a way of making even the darkest days seem brighter."
Bounds invited interested individuals to attend a meeting and see what it's about. "What we're going to do is get past the part of our lives that's so painful. You've got to have something to look forward to in the future, that's what is going to get you through this and make you feel good again."
For more information call 471-6182, 471-3870 or 649-5901.