Larry Schumacher had viewed his role during grief support sessions as the facilitator – someone to start the conversation and keep it going.
But after a recent four-day training session, Schumacher is more aware of an equally important role in his position as chaplain at Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice (GBHH&H).
“Throughout this intensive training, one thing really struck a chord with me,” Schumacher said. “Yes, I am a leader but I am also a companion to those seeking grief support.
“I am eager to put my new knowledge to work during our next support sessions,” he added. “I hope to better understand bereavement as I stand side-by-side as a companion to those seeking comfort.”
Every year, GBHH&H schedules three Monday-night, eight-week sessions. The next one will start in February; the dates will be announced.
“Our support group can be a good avenue to working through the grieving process,” Schumacher said. “When you lose a loved one, grief may be experienced as a mental, physical and/or emotional reaction. We can help on each of these levels.
“While society tells us we should be over our grief and back to work in a few days, we suggest that you slow down,” he continued. “Grief is a life-long process and there are no magic pills. We just want to give you some tools that will help.”
For example, participants will learn they have the right to: experience their own unique grief; feel a multitude of emotions; be tolerant of their limits; embrace their spirituality; search for meaning; and treasure their memories.
Alan Wolfelt, PhD, was the instructor for Schumacher’s 30 hours of training in Fort Collins, Co., and is the author of the book GBHH&H uses during support sessions. As director of the Center for Loss & Life Transition, he awarded Schumacher’s certification in Comprehensive Bereavement Skills Training.
“Dr. Wolfelt is personable and a phenomenal teacher,” Schumacher said. “He approaches his instruction just as we approach our groups. His students, who come from all over the world, share with one another just like our participants in grief support. We can learn so much by listening.”
Dr. Wolfelt praised Schumacher and GBHH&H, which is part of the St. Rose Health Center family.
“I love to hear about organizations such as St. Rose and Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice that are willing to invest in their people to meet the overwhelming need of grief support,” Dr. Wolfelt said. “I look forward to seeing Larry again as he plans to continue his training. It is nice to know there are others with a passion for grief support.”
St. Rose specializes in primary care, prevention and wellness. Services include St. Rose Family Medicine, Convenient Care Walk-in Clinic, Great Bend Internists, imaging, Special Nursing Services, one-day surgical procedures, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice and a comprehensive Specialty Clinic. St. Rose is co-owned by Hays Medical Center and Centura Health.