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Group helps people deal with loss

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GREENFIELD — For area residents  struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one, a new grief support group is available at Hancock Regional Hospital.

The “drop-in” support group was started just after Christmas last year after hospital chaplain and bereavement coordinator Katherine Murray saw a need that extended beyond what was available through hospice services, she said.

“As we talked about our Grief for the Holidays workshop in early December, we became aware of a number of folks that wanted some ongoing experience,” Murray said. “We were told, ‘We wish you would do this more often.’”

Augmenting the periodic grief workshops and the 13-month grief counseling provided by HRH Hospice, the new group provides a small, secure venue for those who need support when they find they need it most, Murray said.

Many times after the initial holidays, anniversaries and other special days recede within the first year of a loved one’s passing, families attempt to return to their normal lives, and those who continue to mourn feel as though they should hide the fact that they are grieving.

 “That can really build the isolation,” Murray said.

Sometimes, people just need a place to go to either give or receive the emotional support they need at any given time.

“It’s a drop-in program,” Murray said. “We don’t impose a time commitment on people.”

In a small group setting that Murray said fosters openness and connection, those who are grieving can attend when they most need it.

“One day you might be coping pretty well, and another day you can’t get out of bed,” Murray said.

The group meets from 10 to 11 a.m. Fridays in the hospice conference room on the hospital’s second floor.

Russ Jarvis, HRH team leader of pastoral care, said the new program is filling a gap for those dealing with loss.

“I’m glad to see it happen,” Jarvis said. “It’s meeting some needs, and it’s become part of a good, strong, multi-focused chaplaincy department we have here at the hospital.”

For more information about the drop-in support group, contact Murray at (317) 468-4124, or email kmurray@hancockregional.org.

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