Community bereavement resources provide hope and healing: Karen Hatfield

Guest columnist Karen Hatfield is director of Western Reserve Grievance Services.

We are grateful that 2021 has allowed for a gradual return to some semblance of normality in many aspects of our lives. However, as we enter 2022, if you have experienced the death of a loved one in the past year or more, you may still be healing from that loss.

Often, the death of a loved one also triggers “secondary losses” related to roles, routines, purpose and personal identity. Former caregivers, for example, suddenly realize that they have to adjust to a life that is no longer centered on caring for their loved one.

In addition to this, many have suffered other significant losses during these times related to relationships, employment, or security.

If you’re feeling exhausted, you’re not alone.

Offered by Hospice of the Western Reserve in conjunction with Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, Riding Through Grief uses the gentle, nurturing feedback of horses to promote healing in children coping with loss. (Photo courtesy of Hospice de la Réserve de l’Ouest)

The good news is that there are resources available to help you. The new year brings with it a fresh start, an opportunity to continue to heal and grow.

Western Reserve Grief Services, the community bereavement center at Hospice of the Western Reserve, welcomes the opportunity to help you through this difficult time. A family member does not need to have a loved one in palliative care to participate in our programs.

Resources include bereavement support camps for children, equine camps, family programs, art therapy groups, healing arts workshops, and a wide variety of virtual bereavement support groups.

In addition, our School Services Program enables us to provide bereavement support and education to many area school communities.

Generous community support enables Hospice of the Western Reserve to provide most bereavement programs and services at no cost to the participant. There is a nominal registration fee for camps, retreats and art therapy programs.

We do not turn anyone away, regardless of their ability to pay, and we offer scholarships.

As you seek to find meaning in the loss and adjust to the changes in your life, we hope you will begin to understand what has happened. You can find a bridge that connects the past to the future in a way that makes sense to you.

In the meantime, please know that we are here with continued care and support. Over the next few months, we wish peace in your hearts and peace in the world. Be gentle with yourself and those around you.

If you would like more information about any of our bereavement support programs, visit our website,, or call us at 216-486-6838.

Readers are invited to submit opinion page essays on topics of regional or general interest. Send your 500-word essay for review to Ann Norman at [email protected]. Essays should include a brief biography and photo of the author. Essays disproving today’s topics are also welcome.

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