2020 - October - CDT - Active Life
Whole, But Not the Same
I’m a big fan of each of the four different seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter. For 13 years I lived in Orlando, Florida, and missed the significant changes in seasons. The temperature dropped below freezing only a handful of times in those 13 years, and the grass was always green – as long as we watered it! Here in Central Pennsylvania, although some of the seasonal transitions happen quickly, I definitely notice the nuances. Each of the four seasons elicits different feelings, activities, colors, weather and light. And there is wisdom in the number four. We have the aforementioned four seasons, and also: four directions – east, south, west and north; four parts of the day – morning, afternoon, evening and night; four elements – air, fire, water and earth; four stages of life – birth, youth, adult/elder and death; four dimensions of ourselves: spiritual, emotional, physical and mental; and even, four movements in our lives – waking up and awareness; fullness and empowerment, detachment and letting go and mystery and paradox.
In many Native American and First Nation communities, much of this wisdom is displayed in the medicine wheel. The medicine wheel is a circle with four quadrants that represents various aspects of life. Different groups assign different meanings to the circle and each of the four directions. One meaning of the circle is wholeness - in order to be whole, we need to address each of the four quadrants to find a healthy balance.
Wholeness is something that can feel hard to find when we’re grieving a loss. Instead we might describe ourselves as broken. Grief and loss experts Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler said, “You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
Some upcoming programs will offer opportunities for people to look for their wholeness. One is Healing with Love: A Virtual Retreat for Those Who Lost a Loved One. At this retreat we will spend time with the four quadrants described above and discuss, for example, what the seasons can teach us about our own life experiences and how to journey through grief. This will be a time set aside to welcome our spirits, listen to our hearts, nurture our bodies and quiet our minds. Healing happens best when done with love – participating in this will be an act of love to yourself. Please join us on Friday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on a video conferencing platform. RSVP by emailing Jackie Naginey Hook using the contact form below, calling 814-404-0546 or by visiting the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH by October 5.
Another upcoming program about wholeness is the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day Virtual Gathering on Thursday, October 15 at 6:30 p.m. As one of the four quadrant lessons teaches us, death and letting go are parts of the natural cycle of life. But they do not mean forgetting. Remembering and honoring can help move us toward wholeness. At this gathering, we’ll do exactly that, remember and honor lost babies.
Losing a baby affects many generations of families. The need to provide validation that these babies existed, they mattered, and are not forgotten is strong – as is the need to heal. This healing gathering is being organized by a group of community members who are creating Footprints in the Field: A Pregnancy and Early Infant Loss Remembrance Garden. On the beautiful grounds of the Calvary Harvest Fields off of Rt. 322 in Boalsburg, Footprints in the Field will be a place for generations of families to reflect, mourn and heal, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs. The Garden will be situated near two ponds and full of river rocks – which visitors can have inscribed to honor a lost baby and then kept or placed in the Garden – and will be landscaped with natural flora.
Please RSVP to FootprintsInTheField@gmail.com to receive the link to join the event. Light a candle to be a part of the worldwide wave of light at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FootprintsintheField and to support the Garden, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/footprints-in-the-field.
Other upcoming events include:
- Monday’s Moments Virtual Gathering – Mondays, October 5 and November 2 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Please RSVP by the Thursday before each gathering.
- Virtual Death Café, Mondays, October 19 and November 16 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
- HEART (Helping Empty Arms Recover Together) Grief and Loss Support Program – 1st and 3rd Thursdays with TIDES, November 5 through January 21, 2021 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Virtual Healing through the Holidays – Mondays, November 16 through December 14 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
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 Naginey Hook by using the contact form below, call 814-404-0546 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.