2021 - January - CDT - Helping Hands

By: Dar Bellissimo
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

 

Everyone in Happy Valley is very grateful for the many helping hands in our community, especially during this pandemic. We’re continually in awe of all the first responders who put their helping hands in harm’s way to care for others. I’m also in awe of the “last responders” who do their part to care for others.

The last responders are those who care for the deceased and the deceased’s loved ones. I have the privilege of working with Koch Funeral Home and their last responders. Many times since last March, the Koch staff has humbled me with their unquestioning dedication and willingness to serve. Early on when it felt as if COVID-19 was an invisible demon that could attack out of nowhere, the staff relied on their training and experience to safely care for those who had died. And as the number of local COVID-19 deaths increased and restrictions were enacted, the staff offered families safe and healing ways to make arrangements and hold services honoring their loved ones. This safe healing care continues today through limited numbers of guests, mask wearing, physical distancing, and through the Because LOVE Can’t Wait program – which includes such options as drive-through visitations and virtual and remote-viewing funerals and graveside services.

While observing the response to the pandemic by the Koch staff, I’ve often thought of how they represent what it truly means to be a neighbor. Just as I used to tell our young children to look for a “mom” if they ever got lost because I knew a “mom” would make sure they found their way, I now tell our adult children to look for a funeral home if they ever need help in a new city because I know the staff there will make sure they find their way. Funeral work is neighbors caring for neighbors.

Of course we can’t talk about neighbors without thinking about Fred Rogers. One Mr. Rogers’ quotes that speaks to the last responders is:

Caring comes from the Gothic word kara, which means “to lament.” So caring is not what a powerful person gives to a weaker one. Caring is a matter of being there…lamenting right along with the one who laments.

That is exactly the kind of caring that happens at Koch Funeral Home and through its Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program that I help facilitate for them.

Lamenting is not a word I hear used very often these days. It is about passionately expressing grief and mourning. Lamenting is a part of our journeys in grief. If you’ve lost a loved one, please visit www.kochfuneralhome.com to learn more about how you can lament and begin to heal with the services we offer.  

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.

 

 

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

2020 - December - Gazette - Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me When our son was little, the two of us had a nightly practice called “Most Grateful, Least Grateful.” As I helped him settle into bed, we would both think through our day and share on...

2020 - November - Gazette - Searching for Meaning

Searching for Meaning Experts who study grief suggest that people who are grieving have a need to search for meaning. Meaning helps them understand the nature of their grief - the what, why, when ...

2020 - October - Gazette - Healing Through the Holidays

Healing Through the Holidays Who knew the Pope tweeted? Apparently I haven’t been in the know. With so much darkness in the news these days, I was happy when I recently came across Maria Shriver's...

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 seaso...

2020 - September - Gazette - Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance In our HEART Support Group sessions – HEART stands for Helping Empty Arms Recover Together - Jennifer Stubbs and I have the privilege of sitting with indivi...

2020 - August - CDT - Helping Hands - Thankful, Thoughtful Tuesdays

Thankful, Thoughtful Tuesdays  Gratitude, enlightenment, peace, comfort. This was how participants described a Thankful, Thoughtful Tuesdays conversation about hospice and the process of dyin...

2020 - August - Gazette - Finding Balance

Finding Balance With my work, I have the honor of accompanying people as they journey towards a new equilibrium in a life they’re making good again after losing a loved one. The wisdom these peopl...

2020 - July - Gazette - What Fills Your Soul?

What Fills Your Soul? I love French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s quote, “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” I love it because ...

2020 - June - Gazette - #BePresentWithKoch

#BePresentWithKoch Presence is important in so many ways. I’ve heard countless stories of loved ones waiting for a particular someone to be present with them before they died. I’ve also heard stor...

2020 - June - CDT - Helping Hands - Because Love Can't Wait

Because LOVE Can't Wait When I ask people about the losses they’ve experienced during the pandemic, without fail they describe the pain of losing in-person connections. Just a few months ago, we t...