Creating meaning out of loss

Nancy Wagner’s husband and best friend Alan died unexpectedly three years ago. With
a large circle of friends and a close-knit family where he was known as the “funcle” to
his 14 nieces and nephews, Alan’s death hit those that knew him pretty hard. Nancy
knew she needed help. Feeling overwhelmed, her sister-in-law moved in so they could
support each other as they navigated their grief.
JCFS Chicago’s reputation was enough for Nancy to call the JCFS intake line. She was
connected with Rabbi Suzanne Griffel, part of the Jewish Community Services
chaplaincy program, which got her through the initial weeks of loss while she waited to
get started with a counselor.
Eventually Nancy joined a JCFS grief support group. This became a lifeline to a
community that was a vital part of Nancy’s journey. Recognizing the need of several
women with similar circumstances, JCFS was able to bring them together for a support
group specific for spouse/partner loss. This group of women became very close and
continue to rely on each other for support. When asked about how she is doing today,
Nancy said, “Part of my healing has been helping others deal with their grief, which is
what led me to be a speaker at two JCFS grief and loss workshops.”