2023 - March - CDT - Good Life - A Grief Education and Support Series

By: Jackie Naginey Hook
Sunday, March 12, 2023

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:

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.




Leave a comment
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.


Please wait

Previous Posts

2023 - March - Gazette - Going Home

Going Home “Going home is powerful.” F. Glenn Fleming, Koch Funeral Home funeral director and supervisor, shared these words at a recent community presentation for those interested in preparing f...

2023 - March - CDT - Helping Hands - Programs to Move Grief to the Outside

One of my roles with Koch Funeral Home’s “Helping Grieving Hearts Heal” program is to create safe places to give people an opportunity to move their grief from the inside to the outside. Each time ...

2023 - February - Gazette - Organ Donation

Organ Donation Full circle moments sometimes surprise us. Breanne Radin Yeckley is a funeral director at Koch Funeral Home who, during her college years, played soccer at Gannon University in Eri...

2023 - February - Learning to Live: What's Your Story?

Fully-Alive and Soul-Fed Storytelling It was a cold, rainy night last week when ten people arrived at my house and began mingling around the snack table. After 30 minutes of small-talk we moved in...

2023 - January - Gazette - Choices in the care of the deceased

Choices in the care of the deceased I received a call from the daughter of a 96-year-old woman who had died. The daughter was looking for someone to officiate at her mother’s funeral service,...

2023 - January - Town & Gown - Loss, Grief, Gratitude and Humor

Loss, Grief, Gratitude and Humor When I was invited to write a piece for the Pink Zone insert, I wondered what I could say to be helpful. I have never had breast cancer or been treated with c...

2022 - December - Gazette - Resolutions or Intensions

Resolutions or Intentions I’ve never been a person who is drawn to making New Year’s resolutions. Primarily because if I want to make a change in myself, I’ll make the change when I realize I want...

2022 - December - Gazette - 2nd Annual Luminaria Memorial Display

 2nd Annual Luminaria Memorial Display Last New Year’s Eve, I picked up my parents from their local retirement community and took them for a drive in search of a very special light show. As i...

2022 - November - Gazette - What Really Matters

What Really Matters “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” As we begin this holiday season, I invite all of us to contemplate these words from writer Annie Dillard. How do ...

2022 - November - CNN - Dogs know just when we need them most ...

We're grateful to Madeline Holcombe with CNN for including Koch Funeral Home and Monroe, our grief therapy dog, in her story about how dogs impact grief. Thank you, Madeline! Read more here.