Losing a loved one changes everything about a person’s life. That is why CofC student Jordan Gile decided to form an Actively Moving Forward with Grief (AMF) group on campus. After losing her father the summer before her freshman year at the College, Gile contacted someone immediately and decided to start an AMF group in order to make it possible for students to help other students going through the same devastating, grieving situations.
“I knew I would need some help adjusting to my new life and adapting to the drastic changes,” Gile said. “I figured there was no better grief outlet than one where you are surrounded by students your own age who are in similar situations.”
The goal of this group is support, according to Gile. Students benefit from being able to talk about their experiences and express themselves in a comfortable, understanding setting. Gile reached out to Sarah Terrell, current Vice President of AMF, when Terrell was a sophomore and suffering the loss of a close friend.
“This group has been a positive way for me to talk about what the loss meant to me and to help others deal with similar circumstances,” Terrell said. “I found that through meetings I was able to share in ways that helped me express grief in a positive way. Many times in college, immediate friends have not suffered the same loss that the student has (especially if it is a family member). This group provides a way for students to meet other students that are experiencing similar feelings and emotions of grief.”
AMF is open to any and all students. Meetings are casual and unstructured, Gile says, in order to create a perfect environment for students to feel safe while talking about their grief. In addition to meetings, which are held twice a month according to everyone’s schedules, another service AMF offers is a community service outlet. They hold one service event each semester.
“We participate in community service in memory of deceased loved ones, raising awareness about the needs of grieving college students,” Gile said. “In the past, we have hosted a bone marrow registry drive through the organization ‘Be the Match’ and registered over 50 people for this wonderful cause. We have also served a meal at MUSC to over 80 families with children in the hospital.”
When asked what advice she would give to students suffering from the loss of a loved one, Gile said the following:
“Everyone’s grieving process is very different and there is no correct way that you are supposed to feel or act. When you are able to connect with other grieving individuals that have gone through similar experiences, you will be shocked with how much they are able to relate to you. It can be hard to open up to others about your grief in fear of how they will respond. Many people are uncomfortable talking about death, so having a resource such as AMF, where death is our prime focus, is extremely helpful.”
To get involved in AMF, contact Gile directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or look out for fliers around campus giving the time and date of the next support meeting.