Hospice Bereavement Support
St. Grace Hospice provides bereavement support to surviving family/caregiver members who have suffered the loss of a loved one.
What is grief?
Grief is the normal and universal reaction humans have to the loss of those they love. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when someone you love is taken away — which is often the cause of the most intense type of grief. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief will be. When your loved one passes, you may go through a period of bereavement and experience grief.
Common Symptoms of Grief
While loss affects people in different ways, many experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal—including feeling like you’re going crazy, feeling like you’re in a bad dream, or questioning your religious beliefs.
- Shock and disbelief – Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting him or her to show up, even though you know he or she is gone.
- Sadness – Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.
- Guilt – You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.
- Anger – Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry with yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.
- Fear – A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.
- Physical symptoms – We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.
Everyone grieves differently
Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried — and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
St. Grace Hospice will provide an organized bereavement program for up to one (1) year following the death of a patient. Services will be provided by personnel who have received training and have experience in dealing with grief.
“How you grieve depends on many factors,”
Bereavement services consist of:
- Bereavement support telephone calls and visits by professional staff
- Condolence call to offer support and assistance upon loss
- Call to the bereaved at three (3), six (6), nine (9), and thirteen (13) months from the death as part of ongoing assessments to observe the bereavement progress
- Visit by professional staff to provide supportive counseling to the family/caregiver prior to death or the bereaved family after death
- Bereavement support letters and cards
- Send sympathy card within two weeks of the death
- Send letter one month after explaining bereavement program to bereaved
- Send bereavement mailings on specified intervals of three (3), six (6), nine (9), and thirteen (13) months after death
- Memorial service held every year
- Annual Memorial Service is held to remember and celebrate the memories of your loved ones
- Bereaved family is invited and be part of the celebration
- Through prayers, songs, poetry and the lighting of candles, we honor and celebrate the memories of your loved ones
- Community resource referral: grief therapists, community support groups, legal services, etc.
St. Grace Hospice will help you sort through your emotions and provide the support you need to get through this period with peace and hope for the future. You do not have to struggle through it alone.