Hospice Helps People Cope with Grief
As featured in The Sheboygan Press
“Grief is the price we pay for love.”
This famous quote from Queen Elizabeth II comes to mind frequently throughout my work days. We love our families and our friends, and certainly understand that losing a loved one induces grief. But we also love pets, jobs, relationships, dreams and opportunities, and status. Any loss can cause grief. Processing that grief is important because our mental health, as well as our emotional, spiritual, and physical health, can all be compromised when we are grieving.
Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 recently held a Mental Health and Alcohol Drug Abuse Resource Fair at RCS Empowers. I attended, along with Pastor Marianne Brandt, Spiritual Care and Bereavement Coordinator at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice. We were there to promote the Hospice’s free drop-in community grief support groups. Collectively, the resource providers who attended are working together to remove the stigma associated with mental illness. While grief is not a mental illness, grieving well and with support is essential to good mental health. Although everyone will experience grief at some point in their life, as a society we are uncomfortable talking about it and ill-equipped to support each other.
The need for support in our community is greatly evident. I observed our “Cup of Hope” station draw numerous visitors. Yet it wasn’t the quantity of visitors that proved the prevalence of grief and the need for support, it was the length of time those visitors stayed with us and the stories they shared. And the profound fact that they shared these deeply personal story with us, total strangers, simply because we gave them the opportunity.
“It hurts every day.” “I know it’s been three years, and I thought I had moved past this, but it still hurts. I still miss him/her.”
“I can’t sleep.”
These are just a few of the comments we heard. Some eagerly grabbed information on our grief support groups. When we shared the message that these groups are for anyone dealing with any kind of loss, not just death, even more people took interest in our information.
On the other side of the spectrum, there were those who stopped by, then stepped back away from the table. Their eyes revealed their grief, but clearly they were not going to talk to anyone about it.
It’s the people in this camp we are trying to reach out to with our upcoming 2nd annual “Garden Remembrances, a Path to Healing from Life’s Losses” community outreach event. We recognize that not everyone processes grief the same way, and it is our goal to pool together resources and counselors to help individuals find healthy coping skills. Therapeutic activities, such as gardening, journaling, massage, healing touch, artistic and musical exploration, pet therapy, and more will be presented.
Please mark your calendars for Thursday, July 9th from 4-7 pm to experience enjoyable, healthy ways to process grief at the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice gardens. For more information on the event or grief support, call 920-467-1800.
Angelia Neumann is the director of development and communications for the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice.