Grief Beyond Belief Group Gets Major Press

Back in June, 2011, Grief Beyond Belief was created in order to support those who experienced the death of a spouse, or child, or friend, but didn’t want to bring religion into the conversation.

Rebecca Hensler‘s group is now getting some major media attention, thanks to Kimberly Winston at the Religion News Service:

For nonbelievers, John Lennon’s famous bid to “imagine there’s no heaven” isn’t just a lyric; it’s reality. And it’s not always easy.

Last year, Hensler founded “Grief Beyond Belief,” a Facebook page where unbelievers can share their grief and loss in what she describes as “a safe place” devoid of God-talk.

Within eight days, Grief Beyond Belief garnered 1,000 “likes,” a number that is now approaching 3,000. Hensler estimates there are about 150 users on the site each day.

A 43-year-old school counselor, Hensler tries to post something every day — a link, a picture, a question, a thought. Recent topics include a discussion of travel as a balm for pain, a look at how agnostics grieve, and a link to a “Bill of Rights for the Grieving.” Right No. 7: “You have the right not to be grateful, reasonable, inspired or inspiring.”

One measure of success for the group will be how it offers help for individuals as it grows so large. It may get to the point where you need Grief groups for different states or regions of the country

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    Denial is the first stage of grief. If you think that your dead loved one is somewhere else and that you will see them again, how on earth can you get to stage two?

  • KR

    I just wish i’d have known about his earlier.  My Dad succumbed to cancer last summer, while my wife was starting treatment for hers.  While i appreciated all of the support i received from my friends and family i would have appreciated somewhere to discuss what was going through my mind without everything being tied into a fairytale. 

  • Anonymous

    This would have been so helpful to me when I miscarried my baby.  I found support at silentgrief.com, but had to wade through the religious stuff.  Sometimes I just wanted to scream… no my baby is not an angel now.  No, my next child is not her coming back to me.  Her heart stopped beating and she’s gone.  Just let me cry and work through it!  Glad to see there is an alternative for non-believers.  Will keep this in mind when I support others who are grieving.

  • Anonymous

    We’re atheists, we don’t care, right, Christians?

  • Mairianna

    When I lost my sister to cancer in December 2010, I remember scouring the internet for  non-theist support.  I found one web page with an email string.  This is a sorely needed group and I would love to support its growth.  We need a place to go to help make plans for our own demise and find support when someone we love dies.   Like KR, I had to endure a lot of xtrian crap from friends and family and I just needed someplace to go for non-religious comfort. 


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