Hospice provides grief and loss help

December 23, 2010|Hospice Helps

“What is wrong with me? Am I going crazy? I just wish I were the same person I used to be; maybe I’m just getting old,” asked Bill.  
Nothing seemed to hold his interest lately, and interacting with his friends and family seemed more burdensome than fun.  
Bill knew that he had suffered some personal losses over the last few years with the death of his best friend and the serious illness of his wife. But Bill was a great caregiver — everyone said so. So what was going on? He just felt so tired all the time. He was grieving.
One of the many services Hospice provides for loved ones of our patients served as well as for the entire community is free grief counseling.
Hospice has a team of licensed professional counselors who are available to the community when a loss is anticipated or has taken place.
 The grief counselor team, or bereavement team, has a variety of experience and special training. These counselors are able to serve any age person who is dealing with loss.
 The grieving person can choose to have individual counseling, group counseling or participate in a directed support group.  
Children and adolescents can be counseled in the hospice facility or counseling can take place in their schools with the parents’ permission. All of the public schools in the county cooperate with the hospice counselor to make sure each student can schedule the needed time for counseling.
At the time of the holidays, people who are grieving often struggle with intensified feelings of loss. They might find that holiday activities are not holding the joy of past years. They might find themselves reluctant to join in with others who are celebrating and may begin to separate from them.
Sometimes, they might feel physical distress — aches and pains — as well as a deep sense of fatigue. Recognizing the mental, physical and emotional symptoms of grief offers the opportunity to address the loss and to understand that the journey of grief is very, very normal.  
The hospice grief support system can lead a person to a path of healing, acceptance and finally enjoyment of life once again. Seeking support and talking with someone about your feelings begins the healing process.
The hospice bereavement counselors are here to help you find your way back to yourself. Each person’s journey is different and these counselors are able to help you find your way.  
Each grieving individual can choose to use the tools most appealing to his personality; it could be individual counseling, joining a support group, doing an activity such as scrapbooking or journaling or reading materials that are designed to provoke meditation and a calmness of mind.  
Everyone takes this journey back from loss; it does not matter your age, the length of time since the loss, your profession, the number of family and friends surrounding you or the amount of money you have. It is common to humans that we experience loss and then we must heal.
 Healing well can bring great rewards and a promising future.

Shelley J. Steiner is marketing and community relations director of Hospice of Washington County. For more information about hospice, call 301-791-6360.

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