Brattleboro Area Hospice Bereavement Program 191 Canal Street Brattleboro, VT 05301 Return Service Requested Seasons Photo by Kathy Carr U.S. Postage Paid Non-Profit Org. BRATTLEBORO, VT 05301 PERMIT NO. 109 Brattleboro Area Hospice Bereavement Newsletter March/April 2015 802-257-0775 • 191 Canal Street, Brattleboro, Vermont • www.brattleborohospice.org A Grief Counselor Grieves Submissions to Seasons If you have a photo, an original poem, or a personal story that you would like to submit for possible use in this newsletter, please send it to Connie Baxter at [email protected] BRATTLEBORO AREA HOSPICE offers a range of bereavement services, including support groups, individual and family bereavement support with hospice staff or trained volunteers, a lending library, the Hospice Memorial Garden at Living Memorial Park, and a variety of community education events throughout the year. All of these services are free of charge and available to anyone in the community. For more information please call (802) 257-0775, and speak with Connie Baxter, ext. 104 or Cheryl Richards, ext. 108. Hospice Lending Library The Lending Library at our 191 Canal Street office has a collection of over 650 books, DVDs, video and audio tapes, on topics of Grief and Bereavement, Children, End of Life, Spirituality, Memoirs, etc. Please stop in and visit the library anytime during our office hours—Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:00. Connie Baxter, Bereavement Care Coordinator Cheryl Richards, Bereavement Care Counselor Elizabeth Ungerleider, Youth Program Coordinator SEASONS MAILING LIST To add or remove a name, please call 802-257-0775 or email us at [email protected] contact us • 802-257-0775 • [email protected] • www.brattleborohospice.org Brattleboro Area Hospice is a non-profit, community supported, United Way agency Cheryl Richards The death of a pet or animal companion is often an invisible loss to those who don’t share a strong connection with animals. Transcendent interspecies relationships can and do occur however. What follows is a bit of my personal life enriching journey of grief when Minnie, my treasured dog companion, grief counseling partner, and hospice greeter, died two years ago. None of my education, training and experience as a grief counselor could prevent the raw anguish I felt at having her ripped from my life. What my training and years of experience in working with people who were dying and grieving did give me however, was the willingness to pay attention and allow my own inner witness to guide my grieving journey. Moving through deep grief irrevocably changes each one of us–with or without our permission! The intensity of our heartache leaves us barely able to function in the world much of the time let alone make cohesive decisions. However, over the years I have had many, many teachers – two legged and four legged-show me the hidden gifts of a grief lived with awareness, choice and permission. Each time I have had to reluctantly give up a dear one to death’s transition I have discovered that these three optional decisions, or gifts, were at the very foundation of my grieving heart and soul. I now recognize that allowing oneself to surrender to and wade through the anguish, despair and confusion of heart shattering loss is an act of profound courage and love. For ourselves. For our departed loved ones. Loss is part of the universal flow of life; but each of us moves through the pain of loss in our own unique way. Becoming aware of and choosing to trust and honor our own particular grieving rhythms are the first important steps to surrendering into life’s flow. Here are some of the tools I used as I crawled out of the density of raw suffering into the lightness and gratitude of love forever shared. If any of the tools sound good to you, experiment with them and make them your own. If they don’t sound like a good fit, find the nearest round file and toss them! • Breath work (intentionally slowing and deepening the breath) and inner contemplation of physical sensations and emotions within the body are powerful tools to focus attention, and calm, soothe and nourish body and soul. • Choose to listen to your body’s wisdom. The body is adept at knowing what it needs–and when it needs it –the challenge is listening. Cry when you need to. Or rage. Or sleep, talk, watch a funny movie, take a walk, immerse yourself in music-whatever you find you’re longing for. Give yourself permission to grieve your way. • Soften. Soften. Soften. Intentional surrender to the pain helps clear the pathway to the life-giving forces within death and loss. • For however long it takes, follow your body’s rhythms –squirming in raw animal grief. At some point, as you’re ready, hold yourself accountable by focusing your awareness, setting your intention and giving permission–how shall your pain change you? Moving through some of the greatest agony life can offer is an act of re-creation. The You that was, is no more. A new You, one that has weathered great heartbreak, will emerge. How shall your life unfold now? Cheryl Richards is the Bereavement Care Counselor at Brattleboro Area Hospice, and also helps families/children grieve and prepare for the death of an animal friend. “What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” ~Helen Keller Looking Ahead to Summer Camps: Camp Knock Knock May 29, 30, 31, 2015 at YMCA Camp Abnaki in North Hero, VT Camp Knock Knock is a weekend camp for families with children who have experienced the death of a loved one. It’s the only camp of its kind in Vermont, and participating families find the weekend to be a very valuable experience for everyone in the family. Families are accepted on a first come basis and must meet two criteria: a loved one has died and children are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Scholarships are available. For more information and to register call Ally Parker at (802) 8604499 x3405. Circle Camps for Grieving Children provides free weeklong overnight camp programs for girls ages 9-16 that have experienced the death of a parent,. Camps in New England are in Sweden, ME and Fitzwilliam NH, August 23rd28th. For more information visit www.circleoftapawingo. org Camp Kita is a free grief camp for children aged 8-17 who are survivors of a loved-one’s suicide. Camp Kita will be August 16th- 22nd at Thompson Lake in Poland, Maine. For more information visit www.campkita.com or email at [email protected] Save the Date! Annual Memorial Planting Service Will be held Sunday May 31st at 4:00 pm at the Hospice Memorial Garden, Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro. Look for complete details about this event in the May-June issue of Seasons. Hospice Foundation of America Annual Grief Teleconference: The Longest Loss: Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia will be held Tuesday May 5th in Brattleboro. Please call our office or check our website for more information about this free event. Bereavement Support Activities Bereavement Support Groups offer a safe, mutually supportive environment for sharing experiences, insight and encouragement through discussion, handouts, and suggestions for moving through the grieving journey. Groups are free of charge and meet at our 191 Canal Street office, unless otherwise noted. Please call Cheryl Richards at (802) 257-0775 ext. 108 (or the person indicated in a specific group description) or email [email protected] to make a pre-group meeting appointment or for more information. **New** 6 week Bereavement Support Group for Adults, begins Thursday April 9th, 4:30-6:00 pm, and will continue on Thursdays through May 14th. This group is for those who have experienced a death loss of any type. We’ll use a combination of conversation, writing exercises, music, art materials, sharing mementos, etc. to explore grief and healing. Connie Baxter is the facilitator. Please contact Connie at 257-0775 ext. 104 to inquire about joining this group. Bereaved Parents Support Group, for parents who have lost a teenaged or young adult child, will continue to meet on Tuesdays through March 24th. If you’re interested in a future Bereaved Parents Support Group please call Cheryl Richards, facilitator, at 257-0775 ext. 108. Good Grief Groups meet when 4 or more close-in-age children or teens express interest. Contact Elizabeth Ungerleider, 258-0763 or [email protected]; or call Cheryl Richards at 257-0775 ext. 108 to learn more. Bereavement Writing Support Group, an on-going group faciliated by Muriel Wolf, may have space for new participants. Please contact Cheryl Ricahrds at 257-0775 ext. 108 to let her know that you’re interested in this group. THE FOLLOWING ONGOING GROUP MEETS YEAR-ROUND **Dates Shown Are For Current 2 Month Period** Spouse/Partner Loss Support Group facilitated by Cheryl Richards meets from 5:00-6:30 pm, the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month. Dates for this group are: March 11th and 25th - April 8th and 22nd. Contact Cheryl at 2570775 ext. 108 to inquire about joining this group. Individual and family support is also available with trained bereavement volunteers and staff. Please call Connie Baxter (802) 257-0775 ext. 104 or Cheryl Richards ext. 108 for more information, an appointment, or just a listening ear.
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