2019 - March - CDT - Active Life - Find the Path by Walking It

By: Jackie Hook
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Find the Path by Walking It

A 96-year-old woman attended several of our grief education and support programs.  At one such gathering she told us she believed it helps to share troubles with others and know we’re not alone. Before she left she said, “I feel like I’m leaving some of my burden here.”

A widower attended one of our monthly Monday’s Moments Complimentary Luncheons just a few short weeks after his wife’s death. He had been a part of other support groups and reaped the benefits of early participation in those groups so knew he wanted to be there.  Before he left he let us know he was grateful he had attended.

Both of these individuals were on their own unique journeys through grief and were finding their paths by walking them. To walk the path of grief, it’s helpful to compare it to darkness. In the dark, you can’t see where you’re going. The same is true for grief and as Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.” In the dark, you are very present to the moment and can’t see very far ahead. The pain of loss can also quickly bring you into the moment -- with barriers to seeing into the future. In the dark, you use many of your senses to help you navigate. Grief can make you feel like you need new ways to maneuver through life.  In the dark, you move slowly and cautiously. Grievers find a speed that works for them. In the dark, it often feels better to be with others. Just as the wise woman in our grief support group shared, in grief it helps to know you’re not alone.

It also helps to know you’re not alone as you consider end-of-life issues. Thinking about death can feel like darkness to some. We live in a grief and death avoidant culture – we don’t like the dark. There are few places that welcome conversations about death. But in September 2011, Jon Underwood started a movement to change that when he held the first Death Café in London.  According to their website, “A Death Café is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counselling session.” At least three things usually occur at these cafés – people eat desserts, drink tea and talk about death. Since its beginning, nearly 8,000 Death Cafés have been held in 65 countries.

Here in Happy Valley, we will have our first Death Café on Monday, April 15 at 4:30 p.m. at Webster’s Bookstore Café, 133 E. Beaver Avenue, State College. Webster’s will generously provide complimentary drinks and desserts and I will facilitate the open discussion. If discussing death doesn’t fit with your notion of what makes us Happy Valley, consider this; the underlying motivation of these discussions is to increase awareness of death to help us make the most of our lives now.

In addition to the Death Café, other upcoming events are:

  • Thankful, Thoughtful Thursdays, Thursdays, March 21, March 28, April 4, April 11, April 25 and May 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (including lunch) at the Bellefonte Senior Resource Center, 110 N. Spring Street, Bellefonte - Being thoughtful about the following topics can make us more thankful now: appropriate legal documents, hospice and what happens as we die, Have the Talk of a Lifetime, instructions to the funeral director and companioning ourselves and others through grief. You’re encouraged but not required to attend all sessions. RSVP to Vickey at 814-355-6720 by the Friday the week before the class.
  • Voices of Grief: Honoring the Sacred Journey, Sunday, March 31 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 867 Gray’s Woods Boulevard, Port Matilda - How can we be helpful to someone who is grieving? How do we move through grief ourselves? This critically acclaimed documentary helps answer these questions. Please join us for this important film and conversation. RSVP to Good Shepherd Catholic Church at 814-238-2110.
     
  • Monday’s Moments Complimentary Luncheon – “Find the Path by Walking It,” Monday, April 1 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1730 University Drive, State College - Grief is a wilderness we each navigate. At this gathering, we’ll discuss ways to find our unique paths by experiencing the grief. Email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-404-0546 or sign up on the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page to RSVP by Wednesday, March 27.

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.

We hope you attend some of these gatherings to find your path by walking it.

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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