By Barb Arland-Fye
When Jo Seier Doofe’s 12-year-son Jay Seier fell into Duck Creek in Davenport while playing with friends the family waited 10 agonizing days for his body to be found. Their parish, St. Anthony’s in Davenport, and secular community surrounded the family with love and support during that summer of 1974.
But Jo, taking a cue from her first husband Lester, the boy’s father, hid her grief. “My tears were, mostly, shed in the bathtub, late at night, when the household was asleep. We did everything ‘wrong.’ My tears weren’t shed in sight of the family. We ‘ran’ from our grief, taking short trips, trying to make life happy for our children and at a time when they, and we, were reeling from grief.”
What she later learned from participation in grief support is the importance of grieving openly and privately. “We lost Jay’s memories, not from his death, but from ignorance.”
Jo asked me to share her story as a way to encourage others dealing with grief to attend St. Anthony’s grief support group meetings on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. or another grief support group in the Davenport Diocese. St. Anthony’s grief support group will meet during the holidays, said Dennis Xuereb, a facilitator. “The holidays are usually a very stressful time anyway. We asked if (the participants) wanted to take a week off, but they said no, so we’ll meet after Christmas and after New Year’s. We’ll let the group decide the dates”….
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