Hospice Bereavement Letter Winter-2011 A Service of Whatcom Hospice Bereavement Support Program

Whatcom Hospice
2800 Douglas Ave.
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: (360) 733-5877
Fax: (360) 756-6884
Hospice Bereavement Letter
A Service of Whatcom Hospice Bereavement Support Program
The ideas and opinions in this newsletter are offered for your reflection only.
We do not promote any particular philosophical or religious perspective.
Finding the Positive in Our Grief
When someone close to us dies we may feel immense loss
and emptiness. We grieve the most for those we love the most
and have lost. Grieving takes us to the very heart of life itself.
Love and loss are intimately connected in that way. In grief
there can be sad times and dark times, and even “crazy”
feeling times. In the midst of each grief journey – it is a journey
and not a destination – healing is occurring. The journey into
our healing asks us to weave our losses into the fabric of our
My encounters with death have taught me this: that we will die and
those we love will die. That thorny fact remains; it gives meaning to
our endeavors and it renders our endeavors meaningless. In the
meantime, we must get on with what are both the simplest and the
most awesome of tasks: we must dare to live. (anonymous author)
It is generally said that individuals grieve in their own unique
way. And those around the griever ought to allow and honor
each unique expression of grief. How we begin to accept the
reality of our loss and how we gradually, eventually begin to
reweave our lives without that special person is the positive,
though sometimes painful, process of healing. Alan Wolfelt,
author, speaker and grief work trainer, is committed to just
this: helping people mourn well so they can live and love well:
The capacity to love requires the necessity to grieve when
someone loved dies. You cannot heal unless you openly express
your grief. Denying your grief will only make it become more
confusing and overwhelming. Embrace your grief and heal.
Deborah Morris Coryell, author of Good Grief: Healing
Through the Shadow of Loss, describes the grief journey this
First, we don’t get past the pain. We must go through it. We can’t
go around it or over it or under it either. The path of healing
(continued on reverse)
I think of the trees and how
simply they let go, let fall the
riches of a season, how
without grief (it seems) they
can let go and go deep into
their roots for renewal and
sleep.... Imitate the trees.
Learn to lose in order to
recover, and remember that
nothing stays the same for
long, not even pain, psychic
pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass.
Let it go. ~ May Sarton
Grief Support Groups
Free, ongoing support groups for anyone
who has recently experienced the death
of a loved one. Come join others in a
caring supportive setting with a trained
bereavement specialist.
Every Tuesday Evening
7:00-8:30 PM
Health Education Center
3333 Squalicum Parkway
Every Wednesday Afternoon
2:00-3:30 PM
Health Education Center
3333 Squalicum Parkway
through loss requires that we incorporate our pain.
We get to that place where joy and grief can live
together. We are changed in the process. The
goal is not to be the “way we were” once again,
the goal is to be more than we were before, to
include more of life. Ultimately the goal is to
include loss in our love and trust of life.
Positive grief transforms us. We find our own
unique way to include our feelings and
memories for our past loved one in our
changed life. This may be celebrating special
events and anniversaries once shared or
creating new activities or ceremonies that
honor our loved one and provide special
meaning in our life. Slowly our grief becomes
less an obstacle and more a sad/sweet thread
in our life.
There are sad days, but it’s easier to remember
the good times and other special events that we
shared. I don’t dwell on the sad unhappy events
anymore – these I just put away. I’ll always
remember them, though, but on the positive side
rather than the more negative. (anonymous)
Once we’ve journeyed through our grief and
understand that the pain of loss is something to
reconcile and not something to get over, we
then know we can “live and love well.”
I wouldn’t have chosen to lose my husband, but
I feel enriched by the experiences that I’ve had
as a result of his death and the depth of sharing
and intimacy I’ve experienced with others in the
course of my healing journey. (anonymous)
Related resources for this article:
Alan Wolfelt, Ph. D., Director of Center for Loss and
Life Transition www.centerforloss.com
Deborah Morris Coryell and The Siva Foundation
Grief Relief
A structured women’s grief support group is now
forming. The group’s six to ten women will meet
once a week for six weeks. Each session will focus on
a specific grief topic, with homework, aimed at
moving the participants closer to understanding their
grief and discovering new possibilities. Each woman
will become familiar with her own unique grief
process, develop new skills as they discover new
directions, obtain valuable resource materials, and
interact more effectively with others inside and
outside of the group. The next group will begin
February 24th. For more information about this no
cost group and to arrange a pre-registration phone
interview, please contact Whatcom Hospice 360-7335877, or email the Bereavement Coordinator, John
Robinson [email protected]
Night and Your Stars
Night and Your stars
Spread out over me,
The air cold and clear,
The smell of woodsmoke,
Somewhere people are sitting around a fire
And I am out here alone,
Once I’d have worried that idea like
A dog with a bone
Till I was overcome with sadness.
Now so many waves of yearning have already
washed over me,
I’m unmoved,
I have suffered so many losses,
There are few to fear,
So many matters I used to agonize over
Don’t matter anymore,
Getting ahead, being invited,
Fitting in, winning.
It’s too late for all that now,
Too late to do much more
Than be out here under the stars
Talking to You,
Friendly and peaceful.
By Elise Maclay in Green Winter
As read at the Nov. 15th Celebration of Light service
If you have comments, suggestions, or would like to submit a
poem or article, please contact Bereavement Coordinator, John
Robinson, at Whatcom Hospice 360-733-5877 or E-mail:
[email protected]