Grief is a normal, healthy response to the loss of a loved one. It’s also a complex emotion that can be almost as unique to the individual as a fingerprint, with no set recovery period.

But one common pattern does frequently follow a death. “Immediately after a loss, people are frequently surrounded by a show of support from friends and family,” said RVNA Hospice Social Worker Cynthia Merritt, LCSW. “Then, when they get two, three, four months out, they still have a need, but their support net isn’t nearly as strong.”

Between 6-7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month, Merritt leads a bereavement support group at RVNA’s Center for Exceptional Care, 27 Governor Street.

The group’s mission is to support individuals who have experienced a loss in the past year, explains Merritt.

“We all experience grief differently,” she said. “This group provides a safe place to share stories about their loved ones and receive support from others who understand the feelings that accompany a loss.”

Meetings start with an educational talk, and then participants are invited to ask questions or share what’s on their mind.

The group is open to the public, with no cost to attend, but those interested in attending should contact

Theresa Santoro