PHONE: 800.707.8922
REFERRAL PHONE: 800.707.8921
REFERRAL FAX: 216.383.5298
DONATE NOW

Mother’s Day Tea Planned for Those Grieving Loss of Mothers

April 23, 2014

Cleveland, Ohio (April 23) — When we experience the loss of a mother or a mother figure, the pain can be intense. We strive to keep her memory alive in our hearts and minds. Mother’s Day can be especially difficult for those who are missing this irreplaceable person in their lives. 

To help those who are grieving the loss of a mother or mother figure, the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Bereavement Center (ESPBC) is hosting a special pre-Mother’s Day Tea on Saturday, May 3, 2 to 4 p.m. The event is free and open to anyone in the community, but capacity is limited, so advance registration is required. The tea will be held at the bereavement center, located at 300 E. 185th Street. For reservations, call Felicia Dunlop-Stanley at 216.486.6335.

Participants are encouraged to bring a photo of their mother or mother figure to display on a “Table of Remembrance,” and may also bring a tea cup or coffee mug with special sentimental value. (Tea cups will be provided for those not bringing them.)   

About Hospice of the Western Reserve

Hospice of the Western Reserve is a nationally acclaimed non-profit agency providing comfort and emotional support to patients and their families. The agency provides palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support and bereavement services throughout the region, and cares for people in a variety of settings, including private residences, assisted living and retirement communities, nursing homes, at Ames Family Hospice House in Westlake and David Simpson Hospice House on Cleveland’s east side. For more information, visit hospicewr.org or call 800.707.8922.

Local Veterans, Families Invited to Free Veterans Recognition Ceremony May 16 at Casa Bella

April 23, 2014

Cleveland, Ohio (April 23, 2014) – Veterans and from Oakwood Village and neighboring communities, along with their families, are invited to a free Veterans Recognition Ceremony and Luncheon at La Casa Bella Party Center, 26383 Broadway Ave., Oakwood Village, on Friday, May 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hospice of the Western Reserve will be individually recognizing and thanking veterans from all branches of the military.

 Registration opens at 10 a.m. and will be followed by an 11:15 a.m. luncheon. The keynote speaker will be John Reiss, Executive Director of Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission. A highlight of the event will be a ceremony featuring the individual “pinning” each veteran in attendance, honoring each one for his or her service to our country. Advance registration is available (RSVP by May 9) by calling 216.298.0380, or by registering online at hospicewr.org/veterans-recognition-ceremony-may-16..

The ceremony is one of several ways Hospice of the Western Reserve is reaching out to former military personnel through the We Honor Veterans program (http://www.wehonorveterans.org). We Honor Veterans is a pioneering campaign aimed at recognizing the unique needs of America’s veterans and their families. It provides specialized knowledge, training and guidelines to help organizations meet the unique needs of veterans, who may have experienced physical or psychological trauma during their time of service. The recognition ceremony is offered to honor all veterans; no hospice connection is necessary.

Hospice of the Western Reserve has achieved recognition as a Level IV partner in the program, the highest level achievable. Level IV partners have demonstrated a commitment to providing the highest quality end-of-life care by collaborating with the VA and other veteran organizations, by increasing accessibility of hospice and palliative care services and by working with other hospices across the nation to implement best practices.

Grieving the Death of a Partner or Spouse

April 21, 2014

After your spouse or partner dies, you transition from being a couple to being alone. This loss can bring significant changes to your life and it can be difficult to function in a world that has suddenly become so different. The life you shared may feel like it’s crumbled. Here are some ideas to consider as you work your way through your grief:

  • There’s no right or wrong or good or bad way to grieve. Whatever you are feeling is okay.
  • You may find that you continue to turn to your loved one to share a story or ask a question. This is natural. In fact, many people find it helpful to continue to speak with their deceased partner or spouse.
  • Continue to attend to practical matters. Funeral arrangements, thank you notes, the estate, insurance, and bank accounts all require attention and energy. Do what you must and postpone what you can.
  • You may be struggling with what to do with your partner’s personal possessions. Others may offer you advice. Trust your instincts about when it’s the right time for you to go through these items. This is different for each person.
  • Communicate with friends and family about what is helpful and what is not helpful to you. You may feel shy about expressing how you feel but know that others will appreciate knowing best how to support you.
  • It may be painful to talk about your deceased love one. Continue to include them in your thoughts and conversation through your tears and honor the importance he or she played in your life.
  • Stress and grief can have an impact on the immune system. You may not feel like attending to your health, but work towards maintaining your health as soon as you feel able. Attend to getting proper nutrition and exercise.
  • Don’t be pushed into making decisions that you aren’t ready to make. You will need to take control of your financial resources and needs, but take the time to think things through before making any commitments.
  • If you think that your emotions are getting the best of you, know that there is help out there in the form of support groups and individual counselling. Reach out to others.

If you feel like you’re on a roller coaster of emotions, know that you aren’t alone. It’s okay to laugh and to cry. Don’t feel as if you need to hold onto only negative emotions. All of your emotions are a tribute to the life you shared together.

Please join one of our spousal loss support groups.

Please visit our on-line grief discussions groups.

This column is also posted on ShareWIK.com.

 

Bereavement Experts to Participate in Panel Discussion During Cleveland International Film Festival

March 27, 2014

The Cleveland International Film Festival is in town, and two of our experts from the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Bereavement Center have received a special honor. Art Therapist Mollie Postotnik and Bereavement Coordinator Mary Murphy will participate in a special panel discussion following the screenings of one of the films. The film, The Sublime and Beautiful, focuses on the tragic story of a couple that loses two children to a drunk driver, the complicated spiral of grief that follows and the very different paths taken to make things right. The film is based off the true story of the writer/director who also stars in the film.

Following the three screenings of the movie at Tower City Cinema, the audiences will be invited to attend the special  panel discussions at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel, 24 Public Square.  Mollie will participate in the panel Friday night and  Mary will be on the panel Sunday.  Tickets for the film are $14 and are available for purchase online at http://www.clevelandfilm.org/tickets.  Please consider supporting the film festival and attending one of the panel discussions featuring Mollie or Mary. 

 Friday, March 28Screening from 2:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – Panel from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (Mollie Postotnik)

Saturday, March 29 – Screening from 8:40 p.m. – 10:35 p.m. – Panel 10:45 p.m. – 11:45 p.m.

Sunday, March 30 – Screening from 11:35 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. – Panel 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Mary Murphy)

When Grief Breaks Your Heart

March 13, 2014

Can you die from a broken heart? Yes, you can.

There is a heart condition called stress induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy—commonly referred to as “broken heart syndrome” because it often occurs during periods of high emotional stress and grief.

First recognized by Japanese doctors in the 1990s, the condition is characterized by a weakening of the left ventricle. The heart chamber changes shape, narrowing at the top and ballooning at the bottom. Thankfully it’s reversible.

Still, death during bereavement occurs more often than one might expect. At our hospice, time and again we see cases where spouses die 12 months apart. Recently, we had a situation where a woman had a heart attack at her husband’s funeral. It’s quite sad.

While we can attest to this anecdotally, research confirms our stories.

In a recent study by Carey et al, the authors found that the risk of stress-induced cardiomyopathy is highest in the first month after a death and then slowly declines during the first year. In a previous study (Shah, et al.), the same authors found that good health and material circumstances do no protect older adults from increased mortality rates while grieving the death of a loved one.
 
The stress of grief has health effects. Common grief reactions like loss of sleep and appetite can suppress the immune system which could exacerbate other medical conditions. 

So what can we do?

First, we can be aware that it’s a real risk. We can offer support to older adults during the first few weeks and months after the death of a loved one. In addition to offering support, we need to encourage older adults to seek medical attention and take care of themselves physically as well as emotionally. Many older adults disenfranchise their own grief and need to know that it’s okay to mourn the loss of their life partner. Support is available through grief groups, friends, faith communities and professional counselors.

No one needs to grieve alone.

 References:

Carey, Iain M.; Shah, Sunil M.; DeWilde, Stephen; Harris, Tess; Victor, Christina, R.; Cook, Derek G. Increased Risk of Acute Cardiovascular Events After Partner Bereavement: :  A Matched Cohort StudyJAMA Intern Med. Published online February 24, 2014.

Shah, Sunil M.; Carey, Iain M.; Harris, Tess; DeWilde, Stephen; Victor, Christina, R.; Cook, Derek G. Do Good Health and Material Circumstances Protect Older People From the Increased Risk of Death After Bereavement?American Journal of Epidemiology,(2013) 177 (4): 375.

Please join our grief discussion groups.

MOCA Cleveland Announces Spring 2014 Exhibitions

March 10, 2014

DIRGE examines how contemporary artists explore and make sense of mortality

CLEVELAND (March 7, 2014) –  MOCA Cleveland will open its Spring 2014 exhibitions on March 7 with an exhibition featuring 22 national and international artists whose work captures, reacts to, reflects on, and contends with mortality, and a new, commissioned body of work by New York-based artist Sara VanDerBeek that references Cleveland’s urban landscape. These upcoming exhibitions connect visitors to established artists from around the globe who have defined contemporary art over the past three decades alongside emerging artists who demonstrate the most current trends. Both exhibitions pursue themes of memory and change through different approaches and subject matter.

The 2014 exhibition programs are supported in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and Leadership Circle gifts from the Britton Fund, Margaret Fulton Mueller, Agnes Gund, Scott Mueller, Joanne Cohen and Morris Wheeler, Margaret Cohen and Kevin Rahilly, Doreen and Dick Cahoon, Becky Dunn, Harriet and Victor Goldberg, Donna and Stewart Kohl, and Toby Devan Lewis. All MOCA Cleveland exhibitions and programs are presented with major support from The William Bingham Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Nesnadny + Schwartz, The Ohio Arts Council and the continuing support of the Museum’s Board of Directors, patrons, and members.

 DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death (March 7, 2014–June 8, 2014)

Organized by Megan Lykins Reich, Director of Programs and Associate Curator

The spring season kicks off with an exhibition that uses mortality as its subject. DIRGE features 22 selected artists both living and deceased who work in painting, drawing, sculpture, video, photography, and installation. Spanning the personal to the universal, historic to the present, literal to the symbolic, the exhibition aims to create a substantive space in which we might better understand, even appreciate life, by reflecting on its end.

A dirge is a song expressing mourning. Likewise, the artworks featured communicate a range of creative responses to death and how it conditions life. Some works are highly subjective exercises by artists facing their own impending death. Others draw from the loss of those closest to examine the role of grief, memory, and ritual. Culture and religion find voice in works that emphasize death’s role in defining sociopolitical systems and belief structures.

 Made using diverse processes and materials, the featured artworks probe the mysterious nature of death to identify and reinforce the most potent characteristics of life. About the show, curator of the exhibition, Megan Lykins Reich, Director of Programs and Associate Curator for MOCA Cleveland, states, “Death is life’s greatest certainty. This relevant and enduring subject matter finds new voice in DIRGE, which features the thoughtful, powerful, distinctive expressions of contemporary artists who find meaning in mortality.”

 In connection with DIRGE, MOCA Cleveland is partnering with many local organizations to generate programs that expand upon the subject matter in significant and progressive ways. Collaborative events are being planned with institutions including The Cleveland Clinic, Hospice of the Western Reserve, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, among others.

 “Hospice of the Western Reserve is honored to be partnering with MOCA to support this innovative exhibit that shines a light on what has long been a taboo topic in our society,” said Michele Seyranian, the nonprofit agency’s Business Development Officer. By taking a fresh, candid look at the cultural, spiritual and personal experiences that color society’s perceptions, this groundbreaking MOCA exhibition can help dispel many of the myths, and foster a healthy community dialogue about an experience that is inevitable for all of us.”

 Some program highlights include:
 
TRANSFORMATION AND PURPOSE THROUGH GRIEF AND LOSS

March 19 / 4:30pm

In partnership with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of CWRU and Hospice of the Western Reserve

The first of a 4-part lecture series, The End, Reconsidered, this discussion will draw upon the stories and expertise of individuals who have turned devastating loss into meaningful outcomes.

 DRAW NIGH: APPROACHING DEATH IN A CULTURE OF IMMORTAILTY   

Thursday, April 3 / 7pm

In partnership with the Dittrick Museum of Medical History of Case Western
Reserve University

 This 2nd installment of The End, Reconsidered lecture series features a talk by medical humanist, literary scholar, and Gothic fiction author, Dr. Brandy Schillace. Dr. Schillace will explore two questions: How do we approach death? And in what ways are materials—the thing-ness of life—part of our grieving process? Reflecting on the artworks in DIRGE and also upon history, anthropology, and medical humanities, Dr. Schillace will attempt to ‘draw us nigh.’

 COMMUNICATING DEATH: DOCTORS, PATIENTS, AND MORTALITY

Thursday, April 17 / 7pm

In partnership with The Cleveland Clinic

This 3rd installment of The End, Reconsidered lecture series is a panel discussion including three leading palliative care physicians from Cleveland and beyond who will explore bioethical issues relating to terminal illness, end-of-life care, and the relationship between physicians and their dying patients.

 BEYOND THE BODY: MORTALITY + THE SPIRIT

Thursday, May 8 / 7pm

In partnership with Hospice of the Western Reserve

 This final installment of The End, Reconsidered lecture series is a talk by Chuck Behrens, chaplain for the Hospice of the Western Reserve. Behrens will explore the relationship between creative expression, spirituality, and mortality. An accomplished speaker and advisor, Behrens received his Masters in Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary and has worked in a spiritual care capacity with HWR since 1994. Artists featured in DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death

  • Cecily Brennan (born 1955; lives in Dublin, Ireland)
  • Sophie Calle (born 1953; lives in Paris)
  • Jim Campbell (born 1956; lives in San Francisco)
  • Vija Celmins (born 1938; lives in New York)
  • TR Ericsson (born 1972; lives in New York and Cleveland)
  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957 – 1996)
  • Trenton Doyle Hancock (born 1974; lives in Houston)
  • Spring Hurlburt (born 1952, lives in Toronto)
  • Rosemary Laing (born 1959; lives in Sydney, Australia)
  • Steve Lambert (born 1976; lives in New York)
  • Kesang Lamdark (born 1963; lives in Zurich)
  • Kris Martin (born1972; lives in Ghent, Belgium)
  • Matt Mullican (born 1951; lives in New York)
  • Takashi Murakami (born 1952; lives in Tokyo)
  • Oscar Muñoz (born 1971; lives in Bogota, Colombia)
  • Mike Nelson (born 1967; lives and works in London)
  • Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (born 1957; lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand)
  • Pedro Reyes (born 1972; lives in Mexico City)
  • Dario Robleto (born 1972; lives in Houston)
  • Guido van der Werve (born 1977; lives in Amsterdam and Berlin)
  • Hannah Wilke (1940-1993)
  • David Wojnarowicz (1954 – 1992)
  • Teresa Margolles (born 1963; lives in Mexico City)

 Sara VanDerBeek (March 7, 2014–June 8, 2014)

Organized by David Norr, Former Chief Curator
 
The Toby Devan Lewis Gallery will feature newly commissioned work by New York-based artist Sara VanDerBeek. Using photography and sculptural forms, VanDerBeek creates installations that consider these sites, responding to architecture, surface, history, and layers of time. For her exhibition at MOCA Cleveland, VanDerBeek continues this effort, visiting Cleveland multiple times over the past year to develop a body of work that captures her experience of the city’s atmosphere and shifting landscape. VanDerBeek is an emerging talent in contemporary art, and her work is part of an important dialog that reconsiders the medium of photography in an expansive way; not just as pictures to be looked at, but as mediators of experience and sculptural objects in themselves.

 David Norr, curator of the exhibition, says “Sara VanDerBeek’s exhibition will create an immersive and contemplative experience for viewers. Her photographs and sculptures have a sense of suspension and a dreamlike quality, evoking fragments of memory and fleeting impressions of the city.”

 Sara VanDerBeek (1976, Baltimore) lives and works in New York. Her first solo museum show, To Think of Time (2011), was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; in 2012, she was commissioned to create new work by The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and in 2013 she became the first contemporary artist to be exhibited by the newly formed Fondazione Memmo–Arte Contemporanea, producing a new body of work in response to the city of Rome. VanDerBeek has been featured in group exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and she was highlighted in New Photography 2009 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her work has been written about in Artforum, frieze, Art in America, The New York Times, Aperture, and Art News.

 Additional Information

DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death and Sara VanDerBeek will be on view from March 7, 2014 through June 8, 2014. Admission for MOCA Cleveland members and children under 6 years old is free. General admission is $8; seniors 65+, $6; and students with valid ID, $5. MOCA Cleveland’s hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 12 – 5 pm; open until 9 pm Thursdays; closed Mondays.

 MOCA Cleveland, founded in 1968, is a leading force in Northeast Ohio’s cultural scene and is recognized nationally and internationally for its presentation of contemporary art and ideas.  For more information on MOCA and all of its programming, visit www.MOCAcleveland.org or call 216-421-8671. 

  

Providing Dignity to the Dying Under Daunting Circumstances

February 18, 2014

A middle-aged man, healthy and active, was stunned when he heard the news.  A diagnosis of Huntington’s disease was overtaking his daily being.  Having no relatives except his estranged son, who wanted no contact with him, the man was put in touch with Hospice of the Western Reserve. 

The unthinkable was true. Ray had Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s Disease is an inherited condition that causes progressive destruction of the nervous system, resulting in jerking and uncontrolled movements of the arms, legs, face and other body parts.

Bringing no family members, Ray arrived at David Simpson Hospice House, where he was greeted by a social worker, nurse, doctor, spiritual care coordinator, and a volunteer. The care team had met previously and learned that many long term care facilities were unfamiliar with Huntington’s disease and would most likely deny admission to Ray. Because Hospice of the Western Reserve is a nonprofit hospice, pledges to provide care to all, regardless of ability to pay, the care team sprang into action and admitted Ray a resident.

There is no pharmacological treatment for Huntington’s Disease to prevent it from becoming worse. Dopamine blockers and other medications may help reduce abnormal movements, but Ray’s body continued to thrash back and forth and flip in the air, often landing harshly onto the floor.

The hospice care team that I was part of met regularly.  Volunteers frequently read to Ray, as he could not keep his body still long enough to watch a TV. The social worker pasted posters of Alaska on his ceiling, providing a virtual trip to Ray’s dream destination -the one place he always wanted to go. Spiritual care coordinators reached out to his estranged son, but regretfully he did not visit, perhaps to frightened of his own genetic fate to visit his father. Nurses and nursing assistants daily mended his wounds that Ray’s body unforgivingly thrust on him. 

As Ray’s disease progressed, safety became an issue.  The team researched options and decided that a fully walled, fully padded Craig bed, (a structure similar to a playpen) would provide the greatest amount of security and comfort for Ray.  Unable to acquire a Craig bed commercially, the team, together with the maintenance crew, volunteer seamstress, and a volunteer coordinator, made a custom padded Craig bed out of plywood, hospital mattresses, surgical sewing needles, duct tape and a staple gun. The venture took six hours from start to finish, allowing Ray to only be out of his room for minimal time, and ultimately yielded an environment where Ray could be safe.

Ray died months later, the disease completely overtaking his body.  His final home was safe, care was constant, and support was always available.  The support offered by the Hospice of the Western Reserve care team during the course of his illness was unlike any other Huntington’s disease care in the country – allowing for dignity, peace and safety in the face of hammering opposition.

Genny Costanzo

Former Coordinator of Volunteers, David Simpson Hospice House

*Patient’s name changed in story

 

 

Baldwin Family Gift Benefits Ashtabula Community

February 13, 2014

From left: Andy Pochatko, Reference Librarian, Harbor Topky Library, Ashtabula; Catherine Westcott, Community Facility Coordinator, Hospice of the Western Reserve of Ashtabula; Suzanne Earle, Librarian, Hospice of the Western Reserve; and Peter Baldwin, representative of the Baldwin family, gather to create book bags for each public library in Ashtabula County as part of the Baldwin Library Collection.

From left: Andy Pochatko, Reference Librarian, Harbor Topky Library, Ashtabula; Catherine Westcott, Community Facility Coordinator, Hospice of the Western Reserve of Ashtabula; Suzanne Earle, Librarian, Hospice of the Western Reserve; and Peter Baldwin, representative of the Baldwin family, gather to create book bags for each public library in Ashtabula County as part of the Baldwin Library Collection.

Seventy new books, part of a generous gift from the local Baldwin family, are being donated to several Ashtabula County libraries. The new books will extend community accessibility and supplement the original Baldwin Library Collection, donated in 1999, which is housed at Hospice of the Western Reserve’s Ashtabula Office.

Funded by a $25,000 gift from the children of Ashtabula resident Richard H. Baldwin, and his brothers — Raymond F. Baldwin and Robert F. Baldwin, Sr. — the books were given to the community to raise awareness about the benefits of hospice and palliative care. The collection also includes grief support and bereavement resources for families who are coping with the loss of loved ones.

The new books cover a wide range of topical issues, including coping with miscarriage and stillbirth, caregiving resources, becoming a “midlife orphan” (loss of both parents), loss of a child from drug overdose, saying goodbye to a pet, and much more.

Pete Baldwin, the son of Raymond, and a member of Hospice of the Western Reserve’s Ashtabula Advisory Council, said the collection fulfills Richard’s life-long dream of supporting Ashtabula County families caring for loved ones. “The Baldwin Library Collection makes Richard’s dream a reality, and provides a meaningful way for my cousins and me to honor our fathers and leave a lasting legacy,” he said.

“We’re so grateful for the generosity of the Baldwin family,” said Catherine Westcott, Community Facility Coordinator for Hospice of the Western Reserve’s Ashtabula Office. “We are honored by their support of our mission. This new donation allows us to extend our educational outreach across the county by making the books locally available at community libraries.”

 

 

 

 

 

Online Condolences: Do they work for you?

February 11, 2014

 

The family cat died last week. I have often written about the death of a pet and how non-pet lovers often disenfranchise grief from the death of a cat or dog. More and more folks seem to accept that it wasn’t just a dog and acknowledge the role pets play in our lives.  What was quite remarkable to me was what occurred on my Facebook page.

I posted the photo of my aged, sad-looking furry friend with the caption “Kenny RIP”.  I had never posted animal photos before.  Much to my surprise, there was an outpouring of empathy, sympathy and compassion from family, friends, high school acquaintances, professional colleagues, former work associates and others that I only keep in touch with out of curiosity. These comments touched my heart and I was delightfully surprised to hear from certain people.

Rumor has it that Facebook is developing a sympathy button. Currently, when someone posts sad news, the options are to “like” it and/or to comment. Some posters are offended when people “like” their sad news. I appreciated not having a sympathy button in this instance as it prompted folks to comment rather than to hit the “like” button.  My “friends” expressions of sympathy ranged from sorry to it’s so hard to lose a beloved pet who is a member of the family to the simple aw and my personal favorite…love and sympathy, hugs.

Is it right or wrong, good or bad to express condolences on Facebook? Is a letter or a greeting card the only acceptable way to offer sympathy?  While expressions of grief can sometimes be offensive, offering condolences online is certainly okay. 

Consider your relationship with the grieving person. If your co-worker is grieving and he or she is someone you see every day, what would be most appropriate? An email, card, letter, or phone call? What makes the most sense? What would the griever want?  The internet offers an immediate response. Postal mail can take a few days after you’ve already taken a few days to sit down and write the letter or card. Will your friend or co-worker think you don’t care if he or she hasn’t received a card by the time she returns to work?

Here are two examples: A Facebook friend yearly posts a picture of her deceased husband on the anniversary of his death. Many, many friends comment. They share stories and words of inspiration that provide great comfort. An elderly bereaved client yearly places an ad in the local obits honoring her deceased husband. The Facebook friend receives immediate feedback, the client brings in the clipping and receives support and hugs from group members and staff, weeks later. 

Some people might think condolences on Facebook are empty expressions of grief. They may be from people you are rarely in touch with. But personally, I appreciated the sentiments from everyone. One post was from a former co-worker who fondly remembered the story of how my cat earned his name.

Offering condolences on social networks is perfect for the sometimes partial or distant friend. HOWEVER, nothing can take the place of physically being with the people you love.

The bottom line is that it’s really up to the griever and his or her comfort level in expressing grief on the internet and social networks. The role of the friend is to be a friend and honor that grief whether it’s through a Facebook post, picking up the phone or showing up at the door with a meal.

Please visit our on-line grief discussions groups at http://www.hospicewr.org/discussions/grief/.

Please like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ESPBCenter

Family Statement Regarding Funeral Arrangements for Arnold R. Pinkney

January 13, 2014

Prominent businessman and political consultant Arnold R. Pinkney passed away at 1:30 p.m. today at David Simpson Hospice House. The family wishes to thank friends and family for their encouragement and expressions of love during this difficult time.

The family has announced that there will be a public viewing from 8 to 9:30 a.m., a wake from 10 to 11 a.m., and the funeral service beginning at 11 a.m., on Saturday, Jan. 18, at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, 8712 Quincy Ave., Cleveland. The public is welcome to join family and friends at all services.  


About Hospice of the Western Reserve

Hospice of the Western Reserve is a nationally acclaimed non-profit agency providing comfort and emotional support to patients and their families. The agency provides palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support and bereavement services throughout the region, and cares for people in a variety of settings, including private residences, assisted living and retirement communities, nursing homes, at Ames Family Hospice House in Westlake and David Simpson Hospice House on Cleveland’s east side. For more information, visit hospicewr.org or call 800.707.8922.