Chaplains host coping with grief workshop

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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Huey Wyche, 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron instrumental flight control systems technician, discusses a past grieving experience with Capt. Thomas Webb, 355th Fighter Wing chaplain, during the coping with grief workshop at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Nov. 30, 2017. The coping with grief workshop is conducted by Chaplain Webb and reviews the seven stages of grief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Giovanni Sims)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The pain of loss can be overwhelming. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. Even though coping with grief can be hard to understand, it is essential to begin the healing process.

The chaplain corps here started the Coping with Grief workshop for Airmen who may be going through difficult times.

“We’ve recognized a need to offer grief counseling,” said Capt. Thomas Webb, 355th Fighter Wing chaplain. “It’s important to understand the stages of grief and why people portray their different attitudes.”

The workshop is especially beneficial to leadership throughout the chain of command.

“We want to help leaders be more empathetic and understand why their subordinate or coworker is in pain from dealing with a loss,” Webb said. “Not just the loss of a loved one or relative, but losses like divorce, losing your home, or not getting that promotion you hoped for.”

Many other agencies are able to benefit from the principles taught during the workshop.

“I’m hoping to enhance my experience working with the Airman and their families here,” said Tonya Stephens, Airman and Family Readiness Center work specialist. “Working in different situations with deployed Airmen and wounded warriors to special needs children equips me with the tools and knowledge to help them.”

The class has already had a successful turnout and received excellent feedback.

“When you’re in the class, there are some things you draw a connection to,” Stephens said. “I think it’ll help people grow and in turn, help others around them grow as well.”

The Coping with Grief workshop is available for all Airmen and personnel with base access. The discussion schedule for the remaining cycle is as follows:

Dec. 12 – 3rd stage of grief
Dec. 14– 4th stage of grief
Jan. 11, 2018 – 5th and 6th stages of grief
Jan. 25, 2018 – 7th stage of grief