The days, weeks, and months following a family or peer death are a time when we want the world to slow down, pay attention, stop.
And yet, it seems the world speeds up, not paying attention at all.
Every week Hope & Healing Place staff talk with individuals who either call or complete online support requests.
We at Hope & Healing understand how hard it can be to make that call or share their story online.
The next hard part is walking through our Memory Garden for an opportunity to meet staff, see our child & family friendly facility, and plan together for the most responsive way to support family or peers.
Each step is about facing the pain of loss, of missing, of showing up for each support group session.
Each of us can find reasons not to do the hard work of grief and grieving.
Family and friends tell you "Get over it already"
Healthy grieving does take Courage to face the Pain of loss....and this is a journey no one walk alone.
Hope & Healing has the skills, caring, and safe place prepared for each death, each family, and all peers and friends.
Call ... Go online. Got grief?...Let's talk.
What is normal for a medical waiting lobby???
What is normal is for someone to open a door, call your name, and say "How are you today?"
You and/or your child or parent may be there for a difficult treatment, or report, or just to just have a teeth cleaning, Most times this is not where you want to be or how you want to use your time. Most of us reply "Fine" or "OK"....but then again, no one is really listening anyway.
At Hope & Healing Place we training our Volunteer Facilitators to replace that "How are you?" wording with "We are glad you are here. Welcome."
Hope & Healing Place is a grief & loss center. Children, teens, parents, and grandparents come to us in the most difficult of times, a death within the family or peer. Everyone is nervous, hesitant, especially that 1st walk into our facility. To be greeted with a warm, heart-felt "We are glad you came this evening" carries connection and the messaging of "You are not alone."
I often ask medical and dental staff to change that 1st message at the door and to ask their peers to do so also.
Action Step: As you can ask your medical or dental staff to change their greeting and briefly say why. By changing wording, we are changing attitudes and perhaps the outcome of your medical appointment as well.
At Hope & Healing we often talk of "families" as our primary connection to a death, grief services, and restoration of Hope.
A family we do not talk enough about is Grandparents.
It is not unusual, although sad and stress on stress, that a family receives a call or leaves hospice or emergency room with one or more children in their care.
In each community Grandparents become over-night "parents" when there is the death of the primary parent/s.
Every family situation and death is different.
There are Grandparents who are already very involved in the life of the grandchildren, and those due to distance or issues within the family are not.
It is not unusual for a Grandparent/s to have moved from an older, larger home to a condo.
And then, all at once, the Grandparent/s have 1 to 4 kids of various ages under their care.
One Grandparent called me and instead of asking a grief question, the Grandparent needed help in knowing where the soccer fields were located.
Such immediate physical moves can result in moving of schools, disconnect from friends....and all on top of the grief and missing of a parent/s through sudden or medical death.
So, HHP says Thank You to all Grandparents for being so important to the lives of children in the difficult times following a family death.
Healing from a peer or family death is never easy.
The journey of healing and adjustment to death is even more complicated with violent and traumatic or sudden deaths.
Television and print media can help or blunt the "this journey no one asked for."
Imagine the sudden or violent death of a child, teen, or spouse in your family.
And then, 6 months or 2 yrs later you open the paper or watch TV and your death experience is once again with
no notice to you.
The death experience comes back on you and your kids at once.
This happens in print many times when there is a related story such as a murder-suicide and the reporter republishes your story as part of the new story.
Crime based deaths can be so emotional and take years to work through the courts. There are trails long after a difficult death, even appeals, release, and parole yrs later. And these news items can just pop-up without notice at any time.
So, this grief journey is hard for everyone. The media can have a role in both promoting healing as well as become a barrier to the personal or family healing journey.
Hope & Healing Place has accessible support groups for the differing types of death, grief, and families who visit our web site and/or talk with us on a daily basis.
At HHP we are also connected to those who have completed a small group or counseling experience.
HHP is now in its 10th yr of serving Panhandle individuals and families.
There are those who attended a spouse loss group who have now remarried.
Kids in the 6th grade are now graduated high school or enrolled in college.
There have been other deaths within the family since we last were with the individual or family.
We also know that whatever "normal" is in the grief journey it will be 5, 7, 9 yrs from a death that the daily pain eases and individuals begin to think of writing of their experience, beginning a foundation, or join with a local or national group to tell their story in a new way.
HHP is connected to all who attend today's support groups for the long term of recovery and healing to the extent possible for the death of a child, sibling, parent, or grandparent.
As staff we are now planning for a regular e and message center connection to 10 yrs of service to others.....We are with everyone for the celebrations, healing, and challenges of daily life.
We travel this path no one chose together.
News reports, phone calls, and social media can bring a family or public death into our lives. How we individually, as a family, or a workplace respond to the death of someone important to us, or important to our children and teens, has much to do with our adjustment to loss and how we each go on with our daily lives.
When there is a family or peer death it is often hard to find the words, to know how to offer encouragement to the family, friend, or workplace. Emotions can over-whelm all of us in the first hours and days. It is at these times so many of us ask questions, search for answers in the midst of sadness. What we do know is our world has forever changed.
The question of “Why” a grief, loss, and trauma center serving the Panhandle is an easy answer. Here is what we know about unaddressed or unresolved grief:
Each week in the Panhandle there are thousands of hours given freely to make the world of a child, family, elder, or appearance of he neighborhood a better world.
Volunteers put food in bags, build homes, review outputs & outcomes, run and walk and play golf for a cause, and lead grief support groups at Hope & Healing Place.
Volunteers leave their homes, families, and work and schedule their time & energy for unselfish reasons, for the best of reasons.
At HHP there are volunteers who learn and stay for 6 months and others who have been with us 10 years. Each strengthened the heart of a child, as their own hearts are strengthened. Each will carry what they have learned about grief and healing into their personal and family lives for the next 20 yrs.
Hope & Healing is a volunteer based grief center. We both believe in and trust the training our volunteers receive. Our volunteers come from the Junior League, schools, all kinds of workplaces, and homes.
So, Thank You Panhandle volunteers!!!!
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