RANDOLPH – During a memorial for the British victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Queen Elizabeth II called grief “the price we pay for love.”
Gifford Medical Center explores that theme in the third part of a free educational series on death and dying on April 4 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Randolph hospital’s Conference Center.
“Grief: The Price We Pay for Love” will feature chaplains The Rev. Tim Eberhardt of Gifford and The Rev. Mary Lewis Webb of the VA Medical Center as well as stories from several community members on personal loss and grief.
Organized by Gifford mental health practitioner and Advanced Illness Care Team member Cory Gould, a licensed psychologist, the discussion, she says, is not about the stages of grief or evidence-based interventions. “It’s really about what grief means, why we grieve, how we grieve and how grief might transform us,” Gould says.
“In the grief process, you get to experience the depth of feelings you had for the one you lost. At its best, grief has the power to deepen our lives.”
Someone who is grieving might ponder questions about “what is life?” and “what is death?” Considering these questions is where change can happen and individuals can grow from their loss, says Gould.
At a minimum, talking about grief normalizes and validates how an individual is feeling. It also becomes easier to talk about death and loss the more we do it, Gould says.
The discussion is open to anyone who has experienced grief, which is most of us. “I think it’s inevitable for all of us,” she says.
And while the two main speakers are chaplains, the goal is not a discussion based on religion or a particular religion. Rather hospital chaplains, and clergy in general, are frequently called to the bedsides of the dying and thus have a deep experience with death.
Community members slated to speak, including Irene Schaefer and Wendy Ross, will share their own stories of loss. Ample time will be provided for questions and sharing.
This discussion is the hospital’s third on death and dying. Earlier discussions were “Start the Conversation” and “What is a ‘Good’ Death?” A fourth discussion is planned for May on “Afterwards: The Business Side of Death.” That program will focus on practical matters, such as funeral planning, taxes and knowing what to do with a loved one’s belongings.
Gould is also launching a Grief Support Group on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 4-5 p.m. in the Family Center (the carriage house beside Gifford Ob/Gyn and Midwifery). The group begins April 11.
Attendance at previous discussions is not required to attend this latest talk or the support group. No registration is required for either and both are free. Gould can be reached at (802) 728-7100, ext. 7, to answer any questions.
The talk will be held in the Gifford Conference Center. The Conference Center is on the first floor of the hospital and marked with a green awning from the patient parking area. For handicapped access, take the elevator from the main lobby to the first floor. For directions to the medical center and more, visit www.giffordmed.org.