Valerie's House offering virtual grief support groups

Posted at 7:21 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 19:21:37-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Holding onto normal is even harder for some these days, like a child who’s lost a parent.

That’s why Valerie’s House of Fort Myers has moved their support groups to a virtual format.

The organization helps kids and teenagers like Stori McDougall who’ve lost a parent or sibling.

She’s missing the one person who kept her calm, and made her feel like everything would be alright. Her mom.

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do than just to be able to ask her if things are going to be okay, and for her to comfort me,” said McDougall.

McDougall’s mom Sommer Eva passed away in 2015.

“She was my best friend,” she said.

She added what makes the COVID-19 pandemic even tougher for her is knowing her mom died from a similar virus. She told Fox 4 a cold developed into pneumonia, causing both her lungs to collapse.

Now, she leans on Valerie’s House for support.

This week the group’s founder Angela Melvin moved support groups to a virtual setting.

“When I asked the question, how many of you feel more stressed now? Of course every single one of them raised their hand,” said Melvin.

She explained why the coronavirus outbreak is harder for those in grieving groups.

“The fear is that I’ve already lost someone in my life, and now I am at risk for losing my other parent,” she said.

The virtual supportgroup is a safe space for McDougall still trying make sense of life without her mom.

“A loss is one of the worst feelings you could ever go through, and it’s just the most important thing is to be able to have someone to talk to,” she said. “I will never be alone in this struggle.”

Valerie’s House said the pandemic is resurfacing a lot of wounds for people grieving and more people are enrolling into their program now.

If you’re not a part of Valerie’s House, you can still find free resources on their website to help you handle grief.