As a not-for-profit organization, we are committed to providing free bereavement services, not only to the families of our patients but to our entire community. We offer traditional emotional support counseling as well as innovative programs for children, teens and adults which address the wide range bereavement experiences.
Perhaps the greatest gift handed to us by the grief process is the opportunity to move forward into a new understanding of ourselves. When we emerge from grieving the loss of a loved one, we embrace our lives from a slightly different perspective. From this new vantage point we find ourselves re-engaging in ways we never expected or even thought possible. The process of grieving can be a time of rebirth, renewal and growth. Hospice of the East Bay continues to grow alongside the adults, children and teens we guide through their grief experience.
Grieving the death of a loved one can be a painful and lonely experience. It can change our world by altering our relationships with others, and our own sense of identity. Our daily habits are disrupted, activities associated with specific roles are lost, and life plans are derailed in the wake of significant loss. Frequently, it is difficult for us to know if the feelings and reactions we are experiencing are normal ones.
Our society encourages us to “get over it and get on with life.” This leads to further pain and isolation. Grief is the natural response to profound loss and is the expression of the strong bond you had with the person who died. No two people grieve in exactly the same way. The way we express our grief is influenced by many things, such as:
- The circumstances of the death
- The relationship with the deceased
- One’s culture, religion and personal beliefs
- How we have dealt with previous losses
Grief, the natural response to a loss, is actually a whole array of feelings that deserve attention and care. Some normal grief responses include:
Other Common Responses:
The period of grieving is a natural part of the process of healing after a loss. Healing is possible when we allow ourselves to identify and understand our feelings as they arise. Participating in grief education classes and individual or group counseling can:
- Enhance the healing process
- Reduce the sense of isolation
- Provide the opportunity to share experiences, thoughts and feelings with others who are in similar situations
- Lead to personal growth
- Learn about the grieving process
Some Other Ways To Aid Healing
- Visit your physician to make sure physical symptoms do not indicate an illness.
- Get plenty of rest. Nap if you aren’t sleeping well at night.
- Spend time out of doors.
- Exercise. Take a daily walk or go for a short bike ride.
- Try to establish a daily routine.
- Eat a nourishing diet and drink plenty of water.
- Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation.
- Use prescribed sleeping aides or other medications only as prescribed.
- Give voice to your feelings.
- Talk to people who give you permission to have your thoughts and feelings without judging you.
- Write about your experience.
- Write to your loved one.
- Give yourself permission to not participate in social activities if you do not feel like it.
- Ask for help.
- Participate in support groups or grief education classes.
Our Services for Our Hospice Families
Informational Mailings: Information about the grief process, and invitations to our support groups and classes, is sent to bereaved families and friends for a year following the death of their loved one.
Volunteer Bereavement Counselors: Caring men and women that volunteer for our agency participate in an intensive training program. This training prepares them to provide education about the grief process and to listen carefully to the people they visit in person or by phone. Our volunteers are available to offer their support on a regular basis for one year following the death of your loved one.
Staff Counselors: Professional counselors are available for individual or family sessions, which provide personalized support and education. Referrals to other professionals in the community are available as needed.
Commemorative Services: Each year, in May, we host the Evening of Remembrance, a special candle-lit ceremony at which family and friends gather to celebrate the lives of loved ones. The evening offers companionship and comfort as guests visit with one another and with our staff members who cared for them and their loved ones. Then, in November and December, we invite our famiulies to join with others at one our annual Tree of Lights ceremonies where they can hear the name of their loved one read aloud at a touching memorial event.
Services That Are Open to the Community
The power of group support can help to transform the pain of loss into growth, healing, and inspiration for the future. With the support and assistance of the group facilitator, members can develop a sense of ease and acceptance in daily living while they learn to live with loss.
8-Week Support Groups: Groups meet once a week for eight weeks and are available throughout the year. These groups are open to anyone, provided that three months have passed since the death of their loved one and that they participate in a brief phone assessment to ensure that the group is appropriate for their needs. Each group is led by trained, experienced professionals who specialize in understanding and managing grief. These groups provide comfort and information that will help to assure you that you are progressing normally and that your pain will ease. There are groups for:
- Spouse and Partner Loss
- Parent Loss
Drop-In Support Groups: These bereavement support groups are led by trained, experienced professionals who specialize in understanding and managing grief. They are open to anyone with no registration required.
Pet Loss Support Groups: In a nurturing small group, attendees are encouraged to process their natural feelings of grief resulting from the loss of a beloved animal. Pre-registration for this group is very important - please register one week in advance.
Classes: Grief education classes provide information about the normal grieving process and present effective coping strategies for dealing with grief and loss. Currently, we are offering classes in:
- Understanding Grief
- Coping with the Holidays
Please check our calendar to choose a group or class, or call (925) 887-5678.