DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) — From the loss of a job to the loss of a family member, people deal with grief on a regular basis. A Gulf Coast group is trying to make sure people know they’re not alone. In the parking lot of Restoration Faith Ministries is the second annual gathering of the “Encourage Your Heart Grief and Loss Awareness Day and Community Resource Fair” — to help lift up people going through a loss.
“It is okay that they are not okay. And that moment by moment we’re going to heal together. So just let whatever is happening happen. Find the happiness wherever you can and whenever you can’t, lean on your community and your neighbors; they help get you through,” said Felicia Shephard. “I think it helps tremendously because when we put the love back into family and family, back into the community, the community is who embraces people whenever they are dealing with grief. And so if we are united as one and we come together as one and we are aware the resources that we have is going to help heal one another.”
Many people here have their own stories. Jolanda Amey lost her father, Pastor John Whitfield, to prostate cancer last year.
“You know, we all have to leave this world and go to a better place. So I do remind them that while we are here on Earth, we want to take care of our health. We want to make sure that we’re doing things to prolong our life for us: eating healthy, making sure that we’re going to our annual wellness visits, going to our primary care doctors,” said Jolanda Amey.
Losing a family member unexpectedly can be challenging to a person’s faith, but some say it also helps remind them of what’s important. Nancy Young’s son, Corporal Gary Shephard, died unexpectedly in 2018.
“You don’t know how it feels. Was I angry at first? Of course, I was. That was my only son, you know. And I’m like, “God, you know, how could you do this?” And He had to remind me I gave my only son. But the thing about it was that my son was saved, and so he was ready to go home,” said Young.