Susi Q launches free support group for seniors who have suffered the loss of an adult child

When we hear about the death of a child, we tend to picture miscarriages, sudden infant death syndrome, or car accidents that take the lives of young children. The sheer horror of a child’s premature death is hard to imagine for those of us who are fortunate enough not to have suffered such a terrible loss.

Yet the death of an adult child brings with it a particularly complicated kind of grief for seniors whose lives have been deeply intertwined with those of their sons or daughters, often for decades.

Beginning in June, Susi Q will offer a weekly “Between the Tears” Child Loss Support Group for Seniors, led by facilitator Basia Mosinski, MA. The group is intended to be a safe place to help older adults process the many feelings which accompany the heartbreak of parental bereavement. The group will meet on Thursdays from 1-2:30 p.m. at no cost to participants.

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Courtesy of Susi Q

Basia Mosinski, MA

“While there’s obviously never a good time to lose a child, seniors who have experienced close relationships over the years with their grown-up children are confronted with the loss of long-time shared experiences and a friendship that has evolved over time,” Mosinski noted. “Regardless of the age of the child, it feels unnatural for their death to precede the parent’s death. With seniors, this bereavement can bring up other losses and sometimes leads to isolation as the parent retreats into depression.”

Based on her own experience, Mosinski strongly believes that support groups are important in helping the bereaved find ways to cope – impossible though it might seem at first – often simply by providing a safe space to share stories or shed tears without any pressure to talk.

“I understood this first-hand when I lost my stepson. I saw the upheaval in my family and felt the range of emotions that come with such losses,” Mosinski added. “I decided to walk away from a career in the arts and turn to psychology as a way to understand grieving on a deeper level and to help others going through similar experiences.”

Basia later lost her own son when he was in his 40s.

“Understanding grief processes in some depth didn’t necessarily prepare me. I had to put myself together again piece by piece, like Humpty Dumpty,” she said. “I found that there was so much wisdom to be shared in a group, for example ways to get through anniversaries and holidays.

“Sometimes people feel like they’re literally losing their minds. Every individual deals with grief differently, of course, but being with others who have experienced similar losses can bring some comfort. Learning from parents who have survived the greatest tragedy of their lives, and helping the newest grievers, gives purpose to many of the participants.”

“Between the Tears” will be offered weekly as an open-ended group, with no requirement to commit to a set number of sessions.

“The idea is to offer a place to breathe, not to add stress,” Mosinski noted.

“We’re so pleased that Basia Mosinski agreed to facilitate ‘Between the Tears,’” said Martha Hernandez, director of Care Management at the Susi Q. “She is compassionate, wise and empathetic. Her personal experience with loss provides her with a unique understanding of the challenges parents and grandparents, face in learning to live each day without their child or grandchild.”

For more details, or to join the group, reach out to Susi Q Director of Care Management Martha Hernandez, LCSW at marthah@thesusiq.org, or call 949.715.8104. The Susi Q Senior Center is located at 380 Third St., Laguna Beach. Parking is free.

Visit www.thesusiq.org to review the many ongoing programs that Susi Q offers, from ukulele lessons, to standing yoga, to bridge and mahjong classes, not to mention support groups and clubs for special interest groups ranging from genealogy to current affairs to books and so much more. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department (now the Dorene Cares Office) provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed and independent.


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