New judgment-free support group for those who have suffered loss
Just a chance to share: Getting Through Together has no set agenda, no guest lectures, no attendance requirements


Felicia VanDoran (left) and Mary Kopec discuss plans for a new support group called Getting Through Together (Photo by Wendy Bynum-Wade)

By Wendy Bynum-Wade
GOSHEN — Big or small, we’ve all experienced loss in our lives. The loss of a job, having to leave your home, divorce, losing a dear friend who moves far away, or something as mind-numbing as the death of a child.
Many who experience losses of feel pressure from the outside world to “ get over it” and return to “ normal,” whatever that is. Those who have experienced a severe loss child can identify with the difficulty of adhering to a societally imposed timetable of getting back to their routine. Grief is a long process, not a single event that has a beginning, middle, and end.
That’s how two women from the First Presbyterian Church in Goshen developed a close friendship while dealing with the loss of their sons in tragic car accidents.
Mary Kopec lost her son Daniel Edmonson in a car accident in 2010. Danny, a stand-out athlete at Goshen High School, was killed traveling to his job at an Ulster County auto parts store. Felicia Van Doran lost her 16-year-old son Paul Van Doran, in 2015 as he was taking driver education sponsored by Goshen High School. Two other students were killed in that accident as well.
For Van Doran and her two surviving sons, Paul’s death was made even more traumatic coming on the heels of the death of Paul’s father and Felicia’s husband, Ed Van Doran, in 2013 from cancer.
One of the ways these women have chosen to deal with their personal tragedies is to establish scholarship funds in their sons' names to be given to Goshen High School seniors each year. They’ve also bonded in another way and are now reaching out to help others who have experienced some kind of loss.
Getting Through Together is a new support group designed to provide a safe place for people to come and share their stories. Both women were surprised by the lack of opportunity to share their grief without strings attached. They want the community to look at this effort as a casual sharing of their thoughts. There are no attendance requirements and each session is completely judgment-free. There will be no set agenda, no guest lectures, no purpose other than giving community members an opportunity to share their feelings with others who have also experienced some kind of loss.
Getting Through Together meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the parlor at First Presbyterian Church in Goshen. Use the office entrance on the Park Place side of the Church. If you have any questions you can reach Mary at marykopec422@gmail.com or Felicia at feliciav99@yahoo.com.