Grief is a normal emotion but can be difficult to understand and deal with especially after losing a loved one. That’s why Tomah Health Hospice Touch / Palliative Care has scheduled a six-week grief group to help those who have lost someone in their life.
“It’s a great opportunity for people who have lost someone to come together and get support and to have camaraderie with other people who have lost someone in their lives as well,” said Tomah Health Hospice Touch & Palliative Care Chaplin and Bereavement Coordinator Shane Haynes. “It’s specifically designed to help those people who have lost someone in their life whether a loved one, friend, relative or a neighbor.”
Haynes said the six-week group grief support series will be held each Tuesday from March 5 – April 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. and Thursday from March 7 – April 11 from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. the Hospice / Palliative Care offices at 601 Straw St. in Tomah.
Participants can choose from either the Tuesday or Thursday sessions.
He said topics include defining grief, how to cope with grief, ways for people to take care of themselves and normal reactions to grief. “A lot of it is open-ended but we do have a curriculum that we use, but a lot of it is defined by the group and their needs and situations,” added Haynes.
While grief is normal and necessary, Haynes said it is a process in the grief journey. “I think a lot of people go into grief thinking that it is a checklist, but that’s not the way it works. The grief journey is different for everybody, but it is a process and something that whether you’re grieving the loss of a loved one or a pet, there are emotions associated with grief that will come about no matter who you are.”
Haynes said while grief may last the rest of a person’s life, it is important to understand how to grieve. “We hear it a lot, ‘I thought I would get over this,’ but anyone of us who has had loss in our lives, we know that it doesn’t take much to have that cycle start back up or resurface, because maybe we see a picture or smell something in a store that reminds us of the one we lost. So the process is never fully complete, but it might change and there are seasons where we are doing better and coping more, but that process will always be there,” explained Haynes.
He said the group meetings have been well received over the years because of the relationships built during the sessions. “Many times, in groups the connections go beyond the six-week sessions where people keep those relationships in tact as they go out from the group setting,” said Haynes. “The other thing that people really appreciate is that connection with our facility, our staff and bereavement team because we leave that door open so as needs continue to arise after the six-week sessions, we encourage people to keep in contact with us so that the support can continue.”
There is no charge for the program; however, Haynes said registration is required by calling Hospice Touch at (608)374-0250 by Feb. 23.