Iowa River Hospice, a Marshalltown Area United Way agency, provides ongoing grief support for at least a year to families following the death of a loved one.
Actually this grief support is also provided prior to the death as anticipatory grief is usually associated with the upcoming loss. The bereavement program is individualized and available to anyone in the community at no cost. Included in this program is the library located at the Hospice Home with many types of materials and literature available for loan.
Tammy and her mother had experienced a very close relationship and Tammy shared that she often felt that "nothing would happen to mom," even though she "knew" that her mom's health was failing. On a Saturday in May, 2011 with her mother in ICU and her condition changing quickly, she "knew" that their time was limited.
Bereavement Coordinators Karen Bursley, left, has a counseling session with Tammy.
"Reality hit and grieving had truly begun," she said. "Nothing else mattered."
Her mom was transferred to the hospice home and immediately upon arriving, a hospice social worker/bereavement coordinator was there to greet and offer pre-bereavement and immediate support at a most difficult time for this family. Tammy said she immediately felt she could relax and "didn't have to worry about anything. We were at peace."
Several months after her mother's death she and her daughter attended Iowa River Hospice's Grow Thru Grief class. Tammy was reluctant at first to attend the class as she describes herself as a "private person and concerned others would judge."
"I was confused as to how I felt as I was experiencing lots of emotions; mad, sad, tearful and yes, fragile." she said. "I felt lost."
In this class she and her daughter felt safe and at home.
"It helped so much to express our feelings and this gave us a feeling of freedom," she said. "I felt sad the classes were completed yet felt I did not need more."
The Grow Thru Grief classes help with normalizing grief feelings, education and support and Tammy felt she definitely received all. Throughout the year following her mother's death Tammy continued to receive phone calls from the hospice bereavement coordinator and expressed that the "timing was perfect. I've also kept all the bereavement newsletters and pamphlets as they were so helpful."
Grief is not convenient. How true, yet comforting to know that there is help when one is experiencing or has experienced the loss of loved ones. Thanks to Marshalltown Area United Way, Iowa River Hospice is able to provide premier grief care to those in need.