2023 - March - CDT - Good Life - A Grief Education and Support Series
A Grief Education and Support Series
I could see some of the participants holding back tears as we began introductions at the grief education and support group. The invitation was to share their names, a little bit about why they were there, and who they were grieving. Some were raw and shared with tears. Others shared without crying. Neither reaction was “better” than the other. All reactions were welcome.
One woman told me she understood the importance of sharing a piece of her story at each session. It helped her to believe it herself and begin to accept the reality of her loved one’s death. Another said that she would know she’d be ready to stop coming to the group when she could get through her introduction without crying. Although tears are a sign of strength, evidence that the grief is being allowed to move, and something that may visit just like thoughts of loved ones again and again throughout life, I understood the sentiment behind her comment. For this woman, saying the words that her husband died without crying meant to her that she was healing. Over the years, she was not the only person who shared these thoughts with me.
I’ve heard a saying that we have to tell our story 72 times to heal. Obviously, that isn’t scientifically proven, but it speaks to the need to confront our pain by telling the stories. As Paula D’Arcy writes in When People Grieve: Guidance for Grievers and the Friends Who Care, “When that pain finally begins to be integrated, the telling stops.” That is what these group participants intuitively knew. It doesn’t mean they’ll never tell their stories again, but their need to do it and experience it will change in the retelling.
Our upcoming Stories of Loss: Grief Education and Support Series will provide a safe space for bereaved individuals to tell and retell their stories. Stories of Loss is a four-week education and support group on Tuesdays, March 28 through April 18 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Juniper at Brookline, 1950 Cliffside Drive. This group will be facilitated by Brenda Oyler Kim, a social worker at Juniper, and me.
At Stories of Loss, we’ll talk about the grief journey and the importance of sharing stories verbally, through writing, and with creative expression. We’ll also discuss both spending time grieving and spending time engaging with life, as well as healthy ways to continue to bond with deceased loved ones. Reflection words from participants at previous Stories of Loss series include: vulnerability, authenticity, connections, I’m not the only one, friendships, there’s hope, gratitude, compassion, and courage. To register, please email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-237-2712 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH. We hope you will join us!
In addition, we hope you will join us at the following gatherings:
- Monday’s Moments Virtual Gathering on Mondays, March 13 and April 3 from noon to 1:30 p.m..
- Grief Healing Circle on Wednesdays, March 8 and April 12 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m..
- Monday’s Moments at Schlow Library on Mondays, March 27 and April 17 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Schlow Library, 211 S. Allen Street, State College.
- Death Café Virtual Gathering on Monday, March 20 and April 17 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m..
- A Walk with Grief - A Centre Region Parks & Recreation Program on Tuesdays, April 4 through May 9 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at local parks. Register on www.CRPR.org.
- Bereaved Mother’s Day Retreat, Saturday, May 1 at Footprints in the Field Garden on the grounds of Calvary Harvest Fields, 150 Harvest Fields Drive, Boalsburg.
For more information, please visit the Bereavement Gatherings and Events page on the Koch Funeral Home website. To reserve your spot and receive the invitation links, email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-237-2712 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH.
Jackie Naginey Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula. She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College. For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.