Six-week workshop in Port Townsend aims to help others grieve. Similar program in Sequim

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

Volunteer Hospice to offer grief support
SEQUIM — Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County will offer a five-week grief-support group series in Sequim beginning Jan. 13 and ending Feb. 10.
The group will meet from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each Monday at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave.
The program is free and open to the public.
Registration is required, as group size is limited.
For more information or to register, phone the hospice office at 360-452-1511 or group facilitator Debby Smith at 360-797-1074.
Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County provides free services to terminally ill patients and their families.
For more information, visit www.vhocc.org.
Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND — Each person's grief is individual. One person may appear to get over a loss in a short period, while another may feel a death keenly for years, said a Port Townsend grief counselor.

“There are no rules,” said Stephanie Tivona Reith, chaplain and bereavement support counselor at the Hospice of Jefferson Healthcare.

“The experience is unique to each person. No one will have the exact same reaction to the loss of a loved one as someone else.”

Reith will lead the six-week Grieving a Death workshop on six consecutive Mondays beginning Jan. 27.

Death of loved one

The sessions, open to anyone in East Jefferson County who has experienced the death of a loved one, will be from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the hospice conference room, 2500 W. Sims Way.

The workshop is free but is limited to eight participants who must commit to attending all six sessions.

Reith said each session builds on the one before, with a focus on grief education, coping skills, journaling, art and ritual as tools of healing and group sharing of experiences.

It is designed for those wanting to do concentrated work on understanding and coping with grief in a safe and confidential small-group setting, she said.

It isn't for everyone.

“This is for people who do better in a group setting, where they can relate to other people and find comfort in hearing the same stories over and over again,” Reith said.

“People get a lot of help from their families in the days immediately after a death,” but often, the support has moved on by the time people need it most.

“After about three months, it can become real,” Reith said. “They realize they have lost the person they have lived with for so long.”

Thoughts of mortality

In many cases, grief can bring up thoughts about personal mortality.

“The more comfortable people are with death, the less they will fear it,” Reith said.

Also available free of charge is a regular drop-in grief-support group that meets from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the hospice conference room the first and third Wednesdays of each month.

No registration or attendance commitment is required for this facilitated group.

Writing about grief

New this year is a one-day workshop titled “Sorrow's Words: Writing to Heal Grief,” taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Co-Lab Conference Room, 237 Taylor St.

The workshop will be taught by writer and poet Sheila Bender, who used writing to help cope with the death of her son.

Participants must pre-register by Jan. 22 and pay a $10 non-refundable workshop supplies fee. Attendance is limited to 12 participants.

To pre-register for the six-week workshop or the “Sorrow's Words” one-day workshop, phone 360-385-0610 or leave a message at 360-385-2200, ext. 4684.

For more information, visit www.jeffersonhealthcare.org/griefsupport.

________

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 02. 2014 10:40PM
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