Hospice of Cincinnati

Fernside's Young Adult Grief Support

Fernside's Young Adult Grief Support

May 1, 2016

Close to seven years ago, Katie lost her father just before starting high school and attended Fernside with her family. Just over a year ago, Annamarie, Julianna, and Philip each lost their fathers within a week of each other. Last summer (June 2015), Fernside hosted a support group for grieving adults ages 18-25, where all four of us met and discovered our common, or what we thought uncommon, bond.Teen Support Group  

After getting to know each other, we quickly discovered that we all attend Ohio University, located in Athens, Ohio. What are the odds that all four of us are from Cincinnati, attending Fernside and are students at Ohio University? We couldn’t believe it. We met every Tuesday night during the month of June and started a friendship over our favorite bacon pizza from Larosa’s and good conversation. What we didn’t realize at the time was that meeting for five weeks over the summer wouldn’t be enough for us. Our fall semester began at Ohio University and coincidentally, Katie and Julianna had a class together which led us to reconnecting again. Towards the end of October, we decided that it would be a great idea to get all four of us back together again so we scheduled to meet at a local coffee shop on campus to catch up. After the initial “Hey, how are you?” we immediately began talking about our own personal grieving experiences. We talked for over two hours sharing stories about our loved ones, shedding some tears, and most importantly finding comfort in the presence of others who understand what we are going through. All four of us feel that college is hard, we struggle with our grief daily, and we feel very alone experiencing these struggles at this stage in our lives. Losing a loved one is undoubtedly the hardest thing each of us has ever been through, and now we are facing the challenge of being away from home and figuring out how to secure a successful future for ourselves. How can we focus on our future when getting through each day is already hard enough? We don’t always have the answers, but we do have each other.  

We have now made it a commitment to meet regularly at least once or twice a month, if not more. The support we have felt from one another has had a profound impact on our grieving journeys and has helped us build our own supportive community here at school. It is amazing how helpful it has been to be loved and supported by one another, and we want college students like us to know that they are not alone in their grief either. Together we feel that there are not enough resources on our college campus for students who are in the same position as us, and through personal experiences, we have found that one-on-one counseling sessions are not beneficial. We are passionate about advocating for students who are experiencing the depths of grief during one of the most transitional stages of their life and we want to help. We are currently looking into starting a chapter of Students Actively Moving Forward on Ohio University’s campus, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and supporting young adults grieving the illness or death of a loved one through peer-to-peer support. Our hope is to begin a chapter on our campus and continue supporting students through their grief, just as we have supported each other. What we like to call an “unfortunate coincidence” has turned into a supportive friendship between four Ohio University students and it’s all thanks to Fernside.

We would like to thank Fernside for their services that have been so helpful to us and our families, and especially for bringing the four of us together!