Mapping our grief

If you were to make a map of your own grief, what would it look like? I think of grief as a country that few would choose to visit, let alone relocate to. Some arrive in this country long before their loved one dies — when a terminal diagnosis comes, venturing further in day-by-day — while others arrive suddenly.

Few get to pack, the language is hard to learn, and the terrain is unpredictable. In this country, one can get lost in familiar neighborhoods, and there are forests so deep and dark that one can hardly find the trail. Plus, there are some tricky bogs to navigate.

As a grief group facilitator and someone who has experienced the death of both parents over the past few years, I am familiar with the terrain. After the initial shock and heartbreak, I have also discovered that there is more to this country than I imagined.

There are also unexpectedly beautiful vistas: oceans of discovery and mountains of memories yet to explore. This country is also a place of learning, transformation and friendship. If you are looking for support, consider joining one of the groups below or reaching out to a counselor or pastor to help you along the path. As you travel deeper and deeper in, may you be blessed with strength for the journey, a listening ear and a soft place to lay your head.

Grief support groups (offered via Zoom)

Mapping our Grief
May 15, 7-8 p.m.
We’ll explore what our own maps of grief might look like (extra credit for anyone who draws their map in advance).

Finding Meaning & Purpose through Loss
Tuesdays 7-8 p.m. CT, June 11-July 16
In a season of loss, it can be difficult to see the way forward. We’ll discuss meaning-making and finding purpose as a path to healing.
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Optage Hospice Chaplain Jenny Schroedel facilitates grief groups across PHS sites and in the larger community. Jenny is also an author, most recently of Naming The Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death.

If you are interested in joining a group, contact Optage Hospice or call 651-746-8200. Optage is the home and community services division of Presbyterian Homes & Services.

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