2019 - January - Gazette - Love Helps Us Heal

By: Jackie Hook
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Love Helps Us Heal

The room was full of friends and family who came to honor a woman’s life. First, the guests offered their condolences in the receiving line. Next, as the celebrant, I shared pieces of her story in a celebration of life ceremony. Then others shared stories too. Afterwards the guests gathered for a reception and continued to share. Throughout the afternoon there were laughter and tears – tears of gratitude for having been a part of her life and tears of sadness because she was no longer physically present. It was a time full of love.

Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., says that people grieving the death of a loved one must address the following six reconciliation needs of mourning:

  • Need 1: Acknowledging the reality of the death
  • Need 2: Embracing the pain of the loss
  • Need 3: Remembering the person who died
  • Need 4: Developing a new self-identity
  • Need 5: Searching for meaning
  • Need 6: Receiving ongoing support from others.

The friends and family who packed the room in the story above began the process of attending to each of these needs simply by participating in that day’s events. The existence of the events themselves acknowledged the woman’s death. Being present naturally evoked feelings of pain about her loss. Sharing stories remembered her and the impact she had on others’ lives. New self-identities were being created; ones without her. Meaning of life questions were raised. And the community offered support to one another. All of these things were done in a room full of love.

A time full of love and a room full of love. Love was at the heart of this event and love helps us heal. While funerals, memorial services and celebrations of life begin the healing journey for mourners, it is important to continue to find ways to meet the six reconciliation needs throughout the grief process, ways with love.

February is a month when we talk a lot about love. Some of us feel happiness as we celebrate love for others on Valentine’s Day. Some of us feel sadness because a recipient of our love is no longer present. We want to be there for those of you missing someone at this time of year.

To that end, in February we are offering:

  • Monday’s Moments Complimentary Luncheon – “Love Heals. Love is Celebrated,” Monday, February 4, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College - Please join us for a time of celebrating love while we move through our grief together. RSVP by Thursday, January 31.
  • Remembering with Love: A Ceremony Honoring Your Loved One Who Died, Sunday, February 10, 1:00 p.m. at Centre Hills Country Club, 153 Country Club Road, State College - Your love lives on and will be recognized as we share a tribute video of those who died and were cared for by Koch Funeral Home in 2018. If your loved one is not included in this category, you too are welcome, just provide a name and digital image when you RSVP with the number of family members attending. We will also have a candle lighting, name reading ceremony and moment of silence. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP by Wednesday, February 6.

RSVP for these events by contacting Jackie Hook at  Jackie@JackieHook.com or 814-404-0546 or by visiting the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page.  

In addition, you are invited to:

  • Tears and Laughter through Loss, Monday, February 25, 6:30 p.m. at The ATTIC of the State Theatre, 130 West College Avenue, State College - Learning to Live: What’s Your Story? and State of the Story present an evening of MOTH-style storytelling with touching and humorous stories about tears and laughter through loss. You might just find that you relate to the storytellers and even heal a little bit too. Admission is $7.00 and tickets are available at http://thestatetheatre.org/.

For more information about these programs, please visit the Koch Funeral Home website’s Monday’s Moments Gatherings and Events page located under Local Resources. All of these events are open to the public and space is limited.

As you navigate your grief journeys, remember this quote from the What’s Your Grief? website:

Grief is love and the confusion caused by not knowing how to love someone who is gone. Grief is love’s frustration, bitterness, anger, and resentment at death’s destruction. Grief is love realizing, if it wants to thrive, it has to be creative and find new ways to connect and be fulfilled. Grief is love’s unwillingness to give up.  It’s stretching bonds and redefining limits in order to create a space where you can love someone in their eternal absence.

I hope to see you at one of these events.

Jackie 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.

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