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Indianapolis church launches nonprofit to help those grieving loss of a loved one

Wearing a pin or armband with "Ask Me Their Name" on it symbolizes the beginning of the grieving process.

INDIANAPOLIS — Grieving the loss of a loved one was never more difficult than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funerals were held virtually, gatherings were prohibited for the most part and it wasn't likely someone would ask you about the loss of a loved one. 

That's where Roberts Park United Methodist Church stepped in and created the "Ask Me Their Name" campaign.

"We have to take time to grieve and acknowledge what we are going through," said Judith Thomas, Indianapolis deputy mayor of neighborhood engagement. "There's healing in talking about it, in discussing it because at some point, you're going to have to. At some point it sits on you, it's heavy."

Wearing a pin or armband with "Ask Me Their Name" on it symbolizes the beginning of the grieving process. It invites others to ask you about the loss of a loved one.

"Ask me their name is trying to give permission to people to say, it's OK. I want to talk about this person," said Rev. Dr. Andrew Scanlan-Holmes, Ask Me Their Name president. "When we're reluctant to do so because we think we're going to hurt their feelings or it may arouse in them the hurt again, that's not always the case."

"Every time we tell the story of our own loss experience, we do a little bit of healing," said Deb Brandt, grief educator. "It gives us a chance to tell the story and hear it ourselves again and acknowledge that, 'Oh, I'm grieving. My circumstances right now, not forever but right now, I need to be treated with tenderness and care.'"

Roberts Park United Methodist Church believes this problem of unresolved grief will be around for a while.

"Our ultimate goal is to provide no cost or low-cost counseling services for those of whom complicated grief is a very real thing," Scanlan-Holmes said.

To learn more or donate to the cause, click here.