Local bereavement resources counter holiday grief

Published 12:26 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2015

During the holidays, the Centra Hospice Bereavement Team offers a variety of services to help those grieving cope with the loss of a loved one through their Grief and the Holidays program.

According to Michelle Walsh, a member of Centra Hospice bereavement team, the organization has held five programs this year.

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She said programs were held in Farmville, Prospect, Lynchburg, Amherst and Bedford.

“Grief can feel very isolating at times,” said Betsy Faughn, a bereavement coordinator for Centra’s Hospice program.

Faughn said Grief and the Holidays places an emphasis on bringing bereaved individuals together to talk about their feelings. “It helps people to know they’re not alone,” she said.

The holidays are typically a time when people wonder how they will get through the occasion after dealing with the loss of a loved one, said Faughn.

During the program, participants are able to talk about the grief process in order to normalize feelings. She said grief can teach the person how to be more authentic. “We need to speak the name, we need to still have that person present,” Faughn said.

Walsh said in addition to Grief and the Holidays, the Centra Hospice bereavement team offers hospice services for bereaved families for up to one year. She said volunteers send mailings out during the year to families, and a variety of community education is available upon request.

Walsh said she looks forward to the hopeful addition of groups to assist with bereavement offerings in the Farmville area for 2016.

“We tend to see things that tell us we can have the perfect holiday,” said Faughn. However, Faughn said typically family dynamics can shift and grief can often intensify during the holiday season.

For more information on local grief and bereavement services, call (434) 200-3204 or visit www.centrahealth.com.