WHEELERSBURG — The holidays bring most people a time for happiness and family, but not everyone can share that happiness, especially if they have lost a loved one.
Two ladies in the community are trying to take their own grief and help themselves and others. Mary Sue Hobbs and Jo Anna Donini both lost their sons at an early age. Together the pair wanted to do something good in their son’s name and came up with the possibility of holding a grief and healing group, so people have a chance to talk about the person they lost and try to help each other heal.
“She is everything, it was 13 years ago, devastated and distraught and I couldn’t help to reach out to her because the deaths were so similar,” Donini said about Hobbs. “I kept reaching out to her, but she just wasn’t ready and finally, she reached out and we have become best friends/family.”
Donini shared that Hobbs wanted to have something good come out of the tragedy and decided to form a support group. To join the group, they said it does not matter how a person has experienced loss and can be parents, sisters, brothers, children, or who have lost someone.
“We would like to invite anybody who has a need for this, and we thought especially around the holidays that empty chair, you never get used to that,” Donini said,
Hobbs shared her grief, stating she has had bad days and after her son died, she did things like drinking and thinking that was what was going to help her.
“I wasn’t a drinker before and I just finally realized and I woke up and thought something has got to give here, things have just spiraled out of control and I have two other kids,” Hobbs said. “I have a 12-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter, and they were like ‘mom, Ethan would want you to do something good for him and that’s what we need to do, we need to do something good for him. “
At this time, they sat down and talked about it and there happened to be someone who had just lost a baby and her daughter asked if she could make her a blessing box like someone who had made for her when Ethan died? Hobbs said that they started making blessing boxes for a few people. It was then that they started talking about having meetings, so people can come and not feel lost and alone and realize that they are not the only person going through things like this.
“I honestly felt alone for months,” Hobbs said. “Jo Anna (Donini) had reached out to me several times, but I didn’t want to talk to anybody. Finally, it just took a breaking point, and I knew we had to do something good to honor him. Not to run what happened to him in the mud, he was a good kid. Everybody loved him. I was like, I want them to remember him for all of his good, all of those good things, not just a bad choice.”
Hobbs said that it’s not exactly one-on-one therapy, but somewhere someone can discuss with other people going through the same thing and hopefully get something from it. She related that some days it is easier to talk about it than others and hopes the group will help others as it has helped her.
The group’s meetings, ‘God Sent Twelve’ named because Hobbs’ son’s baseball number was 12, will be held at Donini’s facility, Serenity, located at 8308 Suite B, Ohio River Road in Wheelersburg. The next meeting will be held Dec. 17 and follow health restrictions and may have to do Zoom or Facebook meetings if needed.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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