The death of a loved one affects everyone differently, making the grieving process as unique as each person who experiences it.

That’s why Diane  Kellstrom, our Bereavement Coordinator here at Hospice of Redmond, believes the greatest gifts we can give a person who suffers such a loss are a listening ear and an open heart.

We do not lead anyone through the process. We follow,” Diane said during a recent conversation about Hospice of Redmond’s bereavement support services. “Whatever their story is, is the direction they go. Whatever their deepest pain is, that’s the direction we go. And, it’s unique and different for every one of them.”

Grief, after all, is both a natural and complex reaction to the death of a loved one. And, navigating through one’s process of grieving can be just as complex.

That’s why for years, we at Hospice of Redmond have provided bereavement support for people throughout Central Oregon.

Our bereavement support services are not just for the families and loved ones of our patients; it’s for anyone who has suffered the loss of someone they love and who feels they could use some support, guidance, and perhaps even companionship.

We do not go into any conversation with someone who has just lost a special relationship thinking we have the answers that will ultimately help because the primary focus we all wrestle with in grief is ourselves,” Diane said.

How Do Bereavement Services Work?

While many bereaved locals find us through referrals and word of mouth, those struggling with grief related to a loved one’s death can access our services by calling Hospice of Redmond directly. We’ll put you in touch with our Bereavement Department, which will get to know you and your story.

If someone calls and says they’re struggling, we ask them to take us back to the beginning and explain their circumstances,” Diane said. “They begin where they want to begin. It may not be the time of death. It may be a stressful moment after the death. Their beginning is where we start. And, as the listener, we are  helping them identify what seems to be weighing most heavily in their heart.”

Diane says as grief is so personal, there are no magical words we can say or tips we can offer that can truly apply to everyone. So, as we listen to one’s story, we strive to recognize which aspects of their lives they are most struggling with.

Grief can manifest itself emotionally, physically, cognitively, and spiritually. And, while a deceased loved one may be the cause of one’s grief, Diane said grief typically spills into other aspects of one’s life.

During the mourning period, people focus energy on the deceased, but they also need to adapt to the changes that this severed relationship created in their lives,” she said. “So, we examine and identify all that was lost, then help them make the personal adjustments needed to move forward.”

This can include changing family roles, altering expectations for the future, missed opportunities, and even financial stability.

Once a grieving person’s full story comes into focus, Diane and the team assist them in defining a path forward that can help them better cope with the grief while adapting to their new realities. This can include a referral for additional counseling. It may also include participation in support groups, social programs, and even a children’s camp offered through Hospice of Redmond’s bereavement support efforts.

What Bereavement Support Services Do We Offer?

You can find a full slate of all our bereavement services on the Bereavement Support page on our website. Some of the more popular services, however, include:

Camp Sunrise: This is a camp held for children ages 7 through 14 who have experienced the death of a loved one. One of the longest-running children’s grief camps in Oregon, Camp Sunrise, was founded based on the understanding that every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a safe, supportive, understanding and loving environment.

Soup & Support: A group that meets for lunch once each month, this event is for any community member (not just those with family members in Hospice) who’s suffered from grief and who wishes to experience social interaction and support from others in similar circumstances.

Grief in Schools: At the request of school and Family Access Network (FAN) counselors, Hospice of Redmond offers bereavement support groups in schools for children of all ages. The 8-week program is administered using a structured, child-driven curriculum.

Adult Grief Support Groups: Grief support group sessions are held once each week for eight weeks. “I find group settings so effective,” Diane said. “Sitting in the company of others who are going through the same thing is very effective and helpful for people who are grieving.”

Unfortunately, some of our bereavement support services have been temporarily forced to change in forum and frequency due to the COVID pandemic. Bereavement consultations, currently take place virtually or over the telephone.

To speak with Hospice of Redmond’s Bereavement Department to learn more about how our services can help you through a difficult time, do not hesitate to call us. Contact Hospice of Redmond at (541) 548-7483, or contact us through our online form.