2018 - May - Gazette - Nurturing. Where do you begin?

By: Jackie Hook
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Nurturing, Where Do You Begin?

The patriarch of a family I know recently died. He had been in declining health for a couple of years and near the end, his family courageously chose to bring him home from the hospital and care for him at home with the help of hospice. As he was wheeled out into an ambulance to be transported home, a cold sleet and snowy rain fell. His son tried to cover him with blankets, but he asked to be able to enjoy the sensation of this freezing rain hitting his body – what a gift.

And the gifts continued. All of his grown children had returned home to help care for him in his final days. He appreciated having them near, they valued their time with him, and they became closer as they worked together and supported one another. Once he was settled in at home, extended family and friends stopped by to express their love, confirm they were each his “favorite” (a longstanding game) and say their goodbyes. This patriarch took it all in. His energy level increased for these four days of visits, and then once the last group left, his attention turned inward. He lived until the following morning.

These children gave their father the gift of dying at home surrounded by them as he wished. He gave his family the gift of love, authenticity, the model of living fully until the very end and a lesson in the importance of family and community.

After his death, his family had a wake, funeral service and burial. They personalized each of these with a tribute video, pictures, quotes, motorcycle police, color guard and taps. The number of participants and outpouring of support was overwhelming.

The family and friends continue to grieve this patriarch’s loss, but they do so knowing he was well-loved and supported. They know they are too. This knowing helps to carry them as they mourn.

All of the gifts of this experience were ways of nurturing - nurturing selves and others. Before and after a loved one’s death, nurturing yourself is critically important.

Nurturing can come in a variety of forms, so where do you begin? As is evident in the story of the patriarch, community is one way. Communities can support you, companion you and provide you with a safe place to share your stories and heal. According to writer and psychotherapist Francis Weller, “Without the protection of the community, grief cannot be fully released or processed.” Unfortunately in our culture, neighborhood communities are not as prevalent anymore. You have to be purposeful about finding your own. We are offering a few such opportunities:

  • Monday’s Moments Complimentary Luncheon “Nurturing, Where Do You Begin? Monday, May 7 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College – Just as it is important to nurture yourself when your body is healing from an illness or injury, the same is true when your heart is healing from a loss. Your body, mind and spirit are all in need of gentle care. At this gathering, we'll discuss some of the many ways to nurture ourselves and even partake in a few.  RSVP by Thursday, May 4.
  • Stories of Loss: A Grief Education and Support Group, Thursdays, May 10 through June 14 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at The Village at Penn State, 260 Lion’s Hill Road, State College - When you lose a loved one, having support helps you on your healing journey. It is powerful to realize you are not alone and to learn how others make it through. In this Grief Education and Support Group, we’ll discuss grief and mourning, have opportunities to share our own stories, if desired, and be among others who have experienced a loss. Adults of all ages are welcome – intergenerational support is a powerful healer too. RSVP by Tuesday, May 8.
     
  • Monday’s Moments Complimentary Luncheon – “The Artistry of Grief,” Monday, June 4 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College - When you're grieving, you may not feel like an artist. But if you allow grief to move within and through you, you'll make your own one-of-a-kind expressions of its many emotions. What do these expressions look like? At this gathering, we'll discuss various ways to both creatively express your grief and allow it to transform you. RSVP by Wednesday, May 30.

Because space is limited, RSVP for the above events by emailing Jackie@JackieHook.com, calling 814-404-0546 or visiting the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page.  For additional information, please visit the Koch Funeral Home website’s Gatherings and Events page.

In addition to safe communities, there are countless other ways to nurture yourself and others. We hope you too find many gifts along the way.

Jackie Hook, MA, is a spiritual director and celebrant.  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
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

2022 - April - Gazette - How Many Children Do You Have?

How Many Children Do You Have? “How many children do you have?” Thankfully, for most people, this question has an easy answer. But for the parents of the one in four pregnancies in this country th...

2022 - March - Gazette - A Walk with Grief

A Walk with Grief My husband and I went for a “four-season” walk at Spring Creek Canyon a few weeks ago. When we arrived, it was overcast, foggy, rainy and cold – it felt like winter. After about ...

2022 - March - CDT - Active Life

Moving Your Grief Through Writing I set my timer for 10 minutes and they all began to write on unlined white paper. At this grief education and support gathering, the participants were either answ...

2022 - February - Gazette - Feeding Your Soul

Feeding Your Soul For many years, I’ve had sensitivities to different foods. For example, I don’t eat pizza. When our kids were younger this resulted in a few humorous moments when they saw other ...

2022 - February - CDT - Helping Hands

A character in Sue Monk Kidd’s novel The Book of Longings, made a statement that jumped off the page and has resonated with me since. A brother said to his sister, “Your grief will come. Let it be ...

2022 - January - Gazette - Stories of the Heart

Stories of the Heart I love it when a plan comes together. My husband was behind the wheel and I was in the passenger seat as we drove our son to train with a punting coach. While I sat there, I w...

2021 - December - Gazette - Life, Love and Light

Life, Love and Light If you’re driving on South Atherton Street in State College this New Year’s Eve, we hope you notice the luminaries on Koch Funeral Home’s lawn. Each one of these luminaries re...

2021 - November - Gazette - Collective Grief, Collective Gratitude

Collective Grief, Collective Gratitude Our Monday’s Moments at Millbrook Marsh program, in conjunction with Centre Region Parks and Recreation (CRPR), includes time for sharing, talking about diff...

2021 - November - CDT - Helping Hands

I love Thanksgiving! With its focus on family and gratitude, it’s one of the best holidays for me. Both of our children will be home this year, and since we’re all fully vaccinated, we’ll get to sp...

2021 - October - Gazette - Have the Talk of Lifetime

Have the Talk of a Lifetime It was our usual Monday morning walk through the neighborhood about one month ago. My husband, John, and I were a little over one mile in and walking up a hill when he ...