By Malarie Allen | Public Relations Specialist

Hospice care is designed to ease the suffering of patients, but did you know an important aspect of hospice is to ease the suffering of the family, as well?

Hospice cares for the whole person, including their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. The emotional and social needs of many patients are closely tied to the relationships in their life. Medicare mandates all hospice organizations offer grief support services to family members. This can be a great service for the family. And, in a beautiful cycle of comfort, some patients find an immeasurable sense of peace knowing their loved ones have access to compassionate grief support after their death.

What does this grief support look like?

At Shepherd’s Cove, grief support is sympathy cards and check-in phone calls to let the family know they are not forgotten. It is literature and seasonal mailings that offer coping support and advice right at your fingertips. It may be one-on-one counseling with compassionate, trained bereavement social workers at our place or, for those who can’t get out on their own, at your home.

The amount of contact depends on the needs and desires of the family member. Many appreciate the support. They enjoy the phone calls. They look forward to the cards and notes of encouragement.

Shepherd’s Cove also offers grief support groups for children, teens, and adults. Whether you lost a spouse, a parent, a child, a sibling, a grandparent, or even a best friend, these support groups are open to anyone free of charge.

Some of the families we serve choose not to receive mailings and phone calls. Some decide counseling and support groups are not right for their personal grief journey. That’s OK. We’re here to serve in whatever capacity and time frame needed.

You don’t have to grieve alone

You may not feel the need for help in the first year after death. Many in our grief support programs have expressed a feeling of “auto-pilot” during the first year as they take care of “business” (like legal and financial matters) and try to survive all the “firsts” – first holidays, first family vacation, etc. without their loved one.

But that second year might catch you off guard. You think you should “be better,” but you still find yourself anticipating the arrival of your loved one each afternoon. You still expect to see him or her around the corner of your home or in their favorite chair. You feel shocked when they’re not there. You still cry over the loss weekly or even daily. This “new normal” is anything but normal for you.

You are not alone.

Read that again – you are not alone.

You are not alone in these feelings. and you do not have to learn how to cope with them alone. Shepherd’s Cove Grief Support Services are still available, even after that first year. They are available to anyone two, five, 10 years or more after a loss.

Companions for your grief journey

Grief support groups can be especially helpful because you hear from people who are going through a similar grief journey. You receive validation for your feelings. When you don’t feel like sharing your story with those loved ones who have already heard or experienced it, support groups offer the opportunity to share it again.

You find companions along your journey.

Shepherd’s Cove support groups are open for anyone in the community, whether or not their loved one was served by hospice. After all, we believe everyone should have access to “exceptional individualized care” when coping with end-of-life issues, including grief. and because many in the community believe the same and give to Shepherd’s Cove, these grief support services are offered free of charge.

Reach out

Are you or a loved one facing a season of grief? We want to help. Call us at 256-891-7724 or visit our grief support page for more information.