When Katherine Ellington lost her 21-year-old son, Justin, in a car accident in April, she was devastated. Although she was comforted by the outpouring of love and support she received from in and around the Loganville community, Ellington still had difficulty coming to terms with the loss.
“I knew I had to have some help myself with dealing with his death,” Ellington said, adding it was in seeking out this help for herself that she found Compassionate Friends - a worldwide organization that has support groups to help parents deal with the death of a child. “I started going to the meeting in Lawrenceville, which meets once a month. I started in May and I can't even begin to tell you how this group has helped me.”
Ellington said it was so comforting to her to be around other people who knew exactly how she felt. She wanted to find something similar for her daughter, Kayleigh, to help her deal with losing her brother.
“Well, I started checking, and the Tucker group that meets is the only one in our area of the state that has a sibling group. I knew how much it was helping me, so I wanted to encourage Kayleigh, who is 19, to go,” Ellington said. “She finally agreed to go in August. She loved the group and being with others who knew how she felt. She especially loved hearing from adult siblings also.”
Ellington said after going again in September, Kayleigh agreed to go and talk to someone. That someone was Steve Williams, a counselor at Loganville Ministry Village who works in grief counseling.
“He had also lost two siblings so Kayleigh connected with him,” Ellington said. “Kayleigh shared with Steve how much the sibling group in Tucker meant to her.”
Ellington said it was from this that Williams and Kayleigh decided to start a support group through the Loganville Ministry Village for people who are dealing with the loss of a sibling.
“We know several people who have lost siblings and she wanted to encourage them to open up too. She and Steve talked about starting a support group in our area for siblings in honor of Justin,” Ellington said. “Kayleigh wanted to use his death and her pain for good...so she wanted to do this. She knows how much it helps to be around others who know how we feel.”
Ellington said she’s still working through the loss of her son, especially since it is still so recent, but she is very proud of her daughter and grateful to Williams who will be leading the group.
The first meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 at the Loganville Ministry Village, 678 Tom Brewer Road, Loganville. Anyone who would like to attend is asked to register by Monday. Williams can be contacted at 678-670-3549 for information.