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DEALING WITH LOSS; COUNSELOR STARTS SUPPORT GROUP FOR GRIEVING PARENTS.

Byline: Patricia Farrell Aidem Daily News Staff Writer

Lolly Ramsey is first to admit she's no expert in her new endeavor - helping parents cope with the loss of a child.

But as a former social worker with graduate degrees in counseling and psychology, Ramsey knows she can be helpful in bringing together parents who share a tragic bond so they can help one another.

``I wanted to do something with my time and training,'' the Canyon Country woman said. ``I felt kind of called to do this, in knowing there are people out there suffering. I don't share their grief, but I have the tools to help them.''

Ramsey's inspiration is her good friend Diana Briones. Their daughters' friendship brought the two mothers together, and then Briones' daughter, at age 20, was killed in a car crash.

``Diane says, people say you'll get over it or you'll get past this.'' Ramsey said. ``Well, you don't get past something like this. You always have that sadness in your heart. It will never go away.''

Ramsey formed TLC - The Loss of a Child - a free support group that will meet for the first time Thursday and continue the first and third Thursdays of the month. The first gathering is scheduled for 7 p.m. at 21618 Golden Triangle Road, No. 103, in Saugus. Information is available by calling her at (805) 298-8551.

``I feel a real need to do this,'' said the self-described empty nester. ``I still have something to offer.''

Briones, Ramsey said, has tried to work through her own grief by calling other parents when she learns someone has lost a child, of any age.

``She's made those calls to try to help someone else,'' Ramsey said. ``I think that's the best way to help oneself is to help someone else.''

Ramsey said she hasn't created a format for the group - she would prefer letting participants decide its course.

Instead, she has spent her time researching grief, studying ways to cope with what is perceived as the greatest human loss. She has searched the Internet for information and studied the stages of grief.

``One of the most important things you learn is what you don't say to people,'' she said. ``Forget the cliches - it's God's will - that really turns people off.''

Instead offer friendship, hugs, company, a hand to hold - and talk to them about the person who has died.

What did Ramsey do when Briones lost her daughter?

``We just cried and hugged and talked about her, and she knew I was there for her.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO (Color) Diane Briones' grief at losing her daughter, Michelle, in a car crash last year inspired Lolly Ramsey, right, to form The Loss of a Child.

David R. Crane/Daily News
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Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 2, 1998
Words:461
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