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Local nonprofit supports those embracing grief

by | May 11, 2023 | Latest, Life & Style

To purchase books, read grief-related articles, donate or signup for a class visit bravepenny.org

Grief is a complicated and personal process that has no timeline. And for survivors of any type of loss, it can often be difficult to navigate without the proper positive coping tools and support.

Frisco resident Sharon Fox’s personal struggles with grief over 25 years ago led her on a journey of self-discovery, first becoming a Certified Grief Facilitator, then later developing a Christian-based grief recovery program for individuals experiencing loss.

The basis of Fox’s program, Shadowlands, is helping people understand what is happening to them. 

“If they’ve never had a loss, it’s bewildering,” she said. “They have feelings and emotions that they’ve never dreamt of experiencing. They don’t know how to cope.”

The 6-week educational program is designed to support those who have experienced any type of loss, said Fox, some not commonly recognized but equally impactful, including abortion, adoption, job or pet loss, loss of dream, the shame which often accompanies suicide or being scammed. 

Each session includes teachings covering God’s model of grieving, coping skills, scripture and much more.

“We know through secular research that everyone is affected by two elements when there is loss: suddenness and the interaction of the event in your life called intimacy,” Fox said. “Another element — violence — makes the impact more acute.”

“Initially, it’s going to knock you off your feet if it’s high intimacy and high suddenness,” Fox said. “And a lot of people say time heals. Well, no it doesn’t. It takes time to heal, but it is not time that heals.”

Brave Penny

For years, Fox taught the grief program at her home church, Christ Church Plano, with materials published and copyrighted by it. Then in 2013, Fox co-founded Brave Penny, a nonprofit Christian-based ministry, to create and deliver grief recovery programs to assist individuals and families to “deal lovingly and effectively” with the loss of a loved one. 

It was co-founder Heather Rodriguez, a woman Fox had befriended and counseled after the suicide of her boyfriend’s brother, who later inspired Fox to write an adoption book, Reframing Adoption, after grieving the loss of a child she gifted through adoption. 

“We are grieving the situation that brought us to making the decision for adoption,” Rodriquez told Fox. “We know in our heads that we are making the right decision for us and for our child, but it is still a grief event for us.” 

Rodriguez sought grief counseling from her own church grief recovery program but was turned away because she had not experienced a loss of life. 

Together, the women developed Birthmother/Support Training, a program that is now offered to churches and adoption agencies who support birthmothers. 

A book called Precious Loss, along with a supporting 5-week grief recovery program, Precious Losses, was written by Fox for families who experienced infertility, infant death, and SIDS. 

Writing is one of the cornerstones of coping skills Fox recommends to those who grieve, and as a result she has developed a journal, Grieving with God, “to be a resting place for the thoughts which cause which cause you to feel stressed and anxious.”

Two children’s books have also been added to the author’s repertoire; The Stone Carver’s Son, which tells the story of Jesus’ birth in a new way and Scooch the Curious Caterpillar.  

“It is about hiccups,” she said of her latest book. “What is the purpose? According to Scooch they are to remind us that God loves us!”

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