Finding Comfort in Grief at Amanda the Panda: Rosi Steele

Married for 32 years, Rosi and Kim Steele were inseparable.
While they spent much of their early married years attending Iowa Hawkeye football games in the fall and baseball games in the spring to watch Kim's son play, they'd also enjoyed a life of travel and fun in Des Moines.  
"Kim had a really tremendous feel for people," Rosi said. "He was a good family man, a wonderful father to his son and an incredible husband."
A month after Kim unexpectedly died from a heart attack, she knew it was time to address her grief.
It just so happened in early January 2020, that she had a routine physical scheduled with her doctor.
That provided the perfect opportunity for Rosi, who asked if her doctor had any suggestions for a counselor or support group she could check out.
"She gave me a list and Amanda the Panda was on that list," Rosi recalls. "At the time, I didn't think I needed a counselor and preferred a group, I thought I might get more out of it."
With that in mind, Rosi looked up Amanda the Panda online and called the office to set up a tour.
"I thought that it fit me really well," she said, noting that she soon signed up to participate in Amanda the Panda's spring support group.
Then the pandemic hit and EveryStep’s programs, including Amanda the Panda, hit the pause button on in-person group meetings for participants.
Still, Amanda the Panda staff knew their services were needed more than ever and arranged to offer their support groups online.
"Doing it all over the computer, it worked out just fine," Rosi said. "The group - we were all women - we really bonded during that time…expressing our experiences and the empathy that we showed each other was incredible."
The ladies continued to support each other even after the six-week spring session ended.
Rosi notes that the group has kept in contact online and through text messages.
This summer, Rosi decided to continue her participation with Amanda the Panda, joining another six-week support group.
"The thing I really like about the groups, first of all, the group leaders always mention confidentiality and respect for each other," she said. "I did not have the feeling I would be judged. I really felt respected and listened to."
During her time in the group, Rosi said she's found help in addressing her grief in ways that had never crossed her mind.
"One of the things that helped me was to seek out other people that may have a similar situation, that you can trust and that it's okay to lean on them once in a while," she said.
In a recent group meeting, the idea of self-care was discussed.
"That was something that many of us hadn't really thought about," Rosi said. "Group makes you think about other things that you don't realize that you should think about or that it's okay to think about."
While Amanda the Panda's support groups help those grieving learn to cope with their new normal, it doesn't erase their loss.
"People talk about not really moving on, but moving forward," Rosi said. "It's one step forward, one step forward."

To learn more about Amanda the Panda visit our website.