Bereavement Support Programs
"Although the world is full of sorrow, it is also full of overcoming it." - Helen Keller
Principles of Grief
Grief is a normal, natural and healthy response to loss. The intensity, duration and experiences of grief are unique to each person.
Grief is a lifelong process that continues to change. It ebbs and flows, and takes surprising turns over time.
We all have the capacity to heal from loss. Those who accept the process and have support enhance their ability to recover from the pain of grief.
While grieving, it is normal to experience any of the following:
- Shock and disbelief
- Confusion or difficulty concentrating
- Distraction, frequent thoughts about the deceased or what happened
- Fatigue, even after getting enough sleep
- Sleeplessness and anxiety
- Nausea or tightness in the throat or upper chest
- Changes in appetite
- Waves of intense emotion; longing, loneliness, despair, anger, or sorrow
- Thoughts about the meaning of life and one’s mortality
HVS provides many grief tools for bereaved persons, volunteers and care givers. Below is a listing of some of the groups and resources available to individuals and the community.
- Peer support groups for adults
- Individual bereavement support
- The Phoenix Group - a monthly social pot-luck gathering of widowed people
- Annual Candle Lighting Service of Remembrance
- Training and support for care givers and hospice care professionals
- Community outreach and education to schools, organizations and workplaces
- Educational presentations
- Free resource materials and lending library
- Referrals to mental health professionals
Children Grieve Too
Children suffer the same losses as adults. Parents and caregivers are able to support them with their grief and sadness by understanding that grief is a normal, natural and healthy response to loss.
- Young people have an innate wisdom and drive that can help them find their way through difficult times.
- Each child will have a different pace and way of finding a course through the grief process.
- Children appreciate the truth. Use words appropriate to their age and understanding. Let them be a part of what is going on. They will trust you and not have to make up stories on their own which could be worse.
- In general, children like to stay engaged in their regular activities.
- Children cope with loss better when the adults in their lives get support for themselves. Find other people who can help you and your children. Let the school know what is happening so it may be supportive as well.
- As they grow, children and teens are continually developing new skills and insights that help them gain deeper understanding of their losses.
- When a child or teen speaks about wanting to die or taking his/her own life, it’s important to take it seriously.
- Children of all ages are naturally curious about death and intuitively know that it is part of the life cycle. It’s helpful to answer their questions about death, loss and grief in a matter-of-fact way from the earliest age.
“A Video Essay on Teenage Grief”
Ninety percent of children in the United States experience the death of a loved one by age 18, and with the loss, there are immense feelings of sadness, confusion and grief. "A Video Essay on Teenage Grief", the 2-part DVD and Study Guide produced by Hospice Volunteer Services, is a valuable grief resource and educational tool for teenagers and young adults. It is designed to reach and support teens who are grieving and the adults who care about them. We make this resource available in the hope that it will stimulate meaningful dialogue within this vulnerable population.
"A Video on Teenage Grief" is available for purchase through Fanlight Productions.