Counseling program helps family get through losing a loved one

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - It has been two years since one family in Sioux Falls lost a father and husband unexpectedly. The Stinnett family says they don't know where they would be without the help of a local counseling program, "Sad Isn't Bad."

Losing a loved one can be difficult to deal with.
"You don’t know what to say when dad’s gone and daddy’s never coming home," explained Jill Stinnett. She lost her husband after he suffered from a heart attack in July 2014.

"It was very difficult. It was a complete shock," said Jill. It was not only a complete shock for her but also for her two daughters who were 10 and 11 years old when he died. He was only 39 years old. Eventually the family was introduced to the free counseling program "Sad Isn’t Bad."

"It was absolutely the best thing that had happened to us since he passed away," said Jill. "I don’t know where we would have been without it."

It’s a grieving program where professional counselors and social workers work with families after they lose a loved one.

"Often times, parents are overwhelmed with their own grief and yet alone feel the responsibility to be there for their children," said Connie Kolbrek, a counselor in the program.

The families meet once a week for four weeks in the program. The adults and children are led in separate groups.

"For the first time, they’re really encouraged to talk about memories, things that they really enjoy doing, and things that they miss with the parent or the loved one that they’ve lost," said Kolbrekl.

This helps the kids understand that it’s okay to grieve.
"I feel better because i wasn’t really understanding things, and the more I asked questions the more it helped," said Keira Stinnett, Jill's daughter.

The program eventually helped the three of them open up to each other about losing an important man in their lives.

"We’re still very very sad but it’s a lot easier to deal with," said Jill. The next four week program in "Sad Isn't Bad" starts at the end of October. Any one is encouraged to sign up for it. Visit the link in the related links section of this article to learn more about the program or to sign up for it.