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Briar Cliff University Holds 3rd Annual Navigating Grief Event

December 31, 2019 | by Ben Pigg

Grief, when facing it can be an unbearable pain. To help heal that pain Briar Cliff University sets up a navigating holiday grief event and this time no one attended.

Jo Morgan, is the campus nurse and director of health services at Briar Cliff and has helped put on the event for the past three years. Each year the event typically has 10 attendees that are usually a mix between staff and students. “No one showed up, we had speakers and everything,” says Morgan.

The school puts on this event during the holidays in order to allow students and staff to be able to relate and connect with others who are going through similar grief. “We were trying to help people prepare, especially with the holidays coming,” says Morgan. Holidays can get rough when your loved one isn’t there anymore, this can cause grief among students.

Although most grief comes through death, many students have grief from being away from home, losing friends, financial situations and even school. “College is the first time many students have their first loss, grandparents and friends,” said Morgan.

Throughout the year, students who are going through the grieving process tend to visit Morgan. “Sometimes they don't have friends that they’ll let their guard down enough to talk to them. Usually it's a physical ailment that brings them in, such as not eating or sleeping, then you start to see that its mental.”

Not all students are brave enough to come in. The ones that don’t end up grieving on their own. “College students want to be in denial until they crack, then their in a crisis situation and that's when they show up,” says Morgan.

To handle grief, students shouldn’t be afraid to talk to someone such as roommates, teammates and family members. “They need to try to deal with it and we help with that by trying to get them to think of the good memories and it takes a while, denial is a normal part of grieving.”

Jeanette Tobin, is the director of counseling services at Briar Cliff who believes the event would help students. “It was supposed to be very interacting with people sharing, we all just kind of sit there talk and cry and just realize that we’re not alone,” says Tobin.

Morgan and Tobin still plan to push for the event to take place again next year around the holidays, hoping for a different result.

Jo Morgan (featured) is one of many with an open ear on campus.

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