Hospice offers free  grief support programs

GREENFIELD — The Hospice of Franklin County is offering two free programs this December, to help support those who are grieving through the holiday season.

“People often feel guilty that they’re not able to feel joyous and participate with friends and family as they have in the past,” said Bereavement Coordinator Judy Allen. “Because of their loss and grieving, they just don’t feel that way.”

Registration is now open for a memorial candle-decorating workshop and a three-part “Grieving Through the Holidays” bereavement group. The programs, which Hospice of Franklin County has run in the past, have limited space and registration deadlines approaching in the next two weeks.

Candle decorating

People can choose to attend one of two candle-decorating workshops: Dec. 7 at 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Bernardston Senior Center, or Dec. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace in Turners Falls.

During the two-hour workshop, participants decorate the glass exterior of an 8-inch tall, 2-inch diameter cylindrical candle.

People can use things like colored tissue paper, stickers, pictures or poems to personalize the memorial candle. They always come out wonderfully, said Allen.

“People have characterized it as a very comforting experience,” she said. “It gives them something that they can use not only at holidays but any other time. ... It has a practical side as well as a memorializing side.”

To register, call 413-774-2400 by Nov. 26.

Support group

People can also register for a three-part bereavement support group. That group will meet on Dec. 10, Dec. 17 and Jan. 7 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Hospice of Franklin County offices in Greenfield. Attendance at all is required.

The support group is designed to provide people a chance to talk about their loss and any apprehensions about facing the holiday season.

Coping and self-care strategies will be discussed, so that people know that any emotions they experience during the holidays are OK, said Allen.

“I think it just helps people be with others who are having the same feelings about the holidays,” she said. “It normalizes it for them.”

This year, for the first time and based on suggestions of previous support groups, the group will meet once in January after the holidays to discuss how the experience went.

To register, call Hospice of Franklin County at 413-774-2400 by Nov. 30.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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