2020 - May - Gazette - H-O-P-E

By: Dar Bellissimo
Thursday, May 28, 2020

H-O-P-E

A few years ago I was introduced to a simple activity designed by Robin Chaddock to help you find your true purpose in life. The activity used two lists – one of verbs and one of nouns. Your task was to choose one verb that best described your greatest strength, and then choose a noun that best described your deepest passion. These two words together made up your “Divine Assignment.”

To help you narrow down each list to one word, you were asked to consider several questions that would guide your choice. For example, to help choose your strength, you filled in the blank in this sentence: “If I were never able to _________, then my life would really stink!” Then to help choose your passion you filled in the blank in this sentence: “With a lot more _________, the world would be a much better place.” When I first participated in this activity, my Divine Assignment was Nurture Hope. Since then I’ve taken part several times and although my strength sometimes changes, my passion has never wavered; it has always been Hope.

Hope is something we can all use a lot of these pandemic days. Consequently, I’ve recently been using Kent Ira Groff’s acronym for HOPE – Honesty, Opportunity, Persistence, Expectancy – to share a message of grief and gratitude in my virtual group presentations.

H: Honesty – Be honest with yourself and others about the grief you’re experiencing. As I talk to people these days, I hear stories of grief – missing hugs and embraces, connecting with others, visiting with loved ones and coming and going freely and losing jobs and income. I also hear stories of anticipatory worrying grief – wondering how long the pandemic will last, what it will mean to financial futures and how it will affect ours and our loved ones’ health.  And I hear stories of previous grief – feeling the losses that occurred in the past but have once again risen to the surface and missing the company of deceased loved ones during quarantine. Be honest in recognizing that this grief is normal, it involves a variety of emotions, unfolds over time -- often longer than we want -- and is uniquely individual but is supported in communities. And be honest in recognizing when you need additional help and support as well. Our Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program continues to offer virtual communities of education and support. 

O:  Opportunity – Look for opportunities. As author and grief expert David Kessler says, you have the opportunity to: find balance in the things you’re thinking, both positive and negative; come into the present without ruminating on the past or having anxiety about the future; let go of what you can’t control; and stock up on compassion. In addition, you have the opportunity to be creative. At Koch Funeral Home, we’ve created new service options that meet social distancing requirements. The “Because LOVE Can’t Wait” program includes: online tributes; online created videos; in-person, drive-through and virtual visitations; in-person and virtual funeral and memorial services; graveside services; and personalized web pages and remote viewing.

P: Persistence – Be persistent in caring for yourselves and others. Self-care is critical right now. You need to eat healthy food, move your body as you’re able, get enough sleep, connect with others as best you can, incorporate stress management practices like the ones described as opportunities above and attend to your spiritual life. At Koch, we’ve been caring for families and inviting them to do something now to honor their loved ones and help them begin to heal. Persistently check in with yourself and others and create what is most appropriate and authentic for you.

E: Expectancy – Expect meaning and gratitude. When we go into an experience expecting to find meaning and gratitude, we look for it along the way and are likely to find some. I fully recognize that my family and I are very fortunate in terms of losses we’ve had so far. The hardest part for me personally is not being able to see, hug and share time with my parents. The hardest part for me professionally is watching families go through loss without the physical presence of loved ones. Meaning and gratitude have come with virtual face-to-face meetings with my parents and one-of-a-kind virtual and/or socially distancing services and gatherings for families.

To help you find your own H-O-P-E, we are offering the following upcoming gatherings:

For more information, visit the Bereavement Gatherings and Events page on the Koch Funeral Home website, www.kochfuneralhome.com. To RSVP and receive the Zoom invitation, email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-404-0546 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH.

And hear these words from Desmond Tutu, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

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.

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