Tag Archives: Grief

The Art of Last Things

Concord, VNA, Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice, Lakes RegionArts on the Edge Wolfeboro is pleased to present “The Art of Last Things: Conversations and Resources for Living and Dying Well.” This six-week-long exhibit and series of events, beginning May 1 with a public reception at 5 p.m., will highlight the unique fabric and thread compositions of internationally known artist Deidre Scherer. Her finely detailed work, in which she portrays a spectrum of human emotions, offers positive images of aging, death, and interpersonal relationships across cultures and generations.

A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Scherer has exhibited and lectured throughout the United States, as well as in Japan, England, and elsewhere globally. Her works can be found in private collections and museums across the country. She is well-known for her famous cover of the book When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, she received the annual alumni award for artistic achievement from her alma mater in 2010, “for the innovative medium of textile art she has developed, and for her thought-provoking investigations of our society’s views of aging, reflections on life, death, family relationships and the welfare of future generations.” Scherer will offer her own reflections, including conversation with the audience, in a culminating talk at 7 p.m. on June 16.Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice, Lakes Region, Moultonboro, Center Harbor

The exhibit of Scherer’s work will be open daily, and will include docents who can help participants reflect on the fabric images and engage them, if they wish, in more personal conversations about “last things.” In addition, a weekly series of public presentations/conversations, offered by local professionals on Tuesdays at 4 p.m., will focus on practical matters that include legal and financial concerns, funerals and end-of-life rituals, medical and hospice care, and grief and bereavement. The exhibit and all events, which are free and open to the public, will take place at First Congregational Church, UCC, 115 South Main Street, Wolfeboro. Donations are welcome. For more information, including schedule for the exhibit and events, please call the church at 603-569-1555, or visit www.fccwolfeboro.org. Arts on the Edge Wolfeboro is a program of First Congregational Church, UCC, Wolfeboro. These events are co-sponsored by Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice. A generous grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council supports the artist’s exhibit and talk.

Schedule:

Exhibit May 1 – June 16

Artist’s Talk June 16 at 7pm

Weekly Presentations:

May 12 & 19 Legal and Financial Planning

Susan John, Certified Financial Planner

Margaret Demos, Attorney

May 26 Funeral Planning

Brian Lord, Funeral Director

June 2 Advanced Care Planning

Jennifer Laramie, Hospice Director

Liz Testa, Social Worker

June 9 Grief and Bereavement Resources

James Miller, Bereavement Coordinator

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Grief as a Medicine

James Miller PhD Bereavement Coordinator

James Miller PhD
Bereavement Coordinator
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice

While grief is a feeling with which most of us are familiar, it can manifest itself in many different ways. Some of us tend to equate grief with sadness but others experience much more than sadness as a result of grief. Many persons report feelings of anger, guilt, resentment, loneliness, fear, anxiety, panic, relief, etc. as a component of grief. However grief is experienced, there seems to be a commonly-held belief among bereavement counselors that what is most important is to recognize, express and eventually accept the various components of grief. Indeed, “grief is itself a medicine (William Cowper) that needs to be experienced in order to release its healing qualities.
Unlike many unpleasant feelings with which we struggle, grief is better embraced than escaped. “The difference between grief and joy is what we do with them. Grief we push away. Joy we try to hold on to. When we refuse our grief, it stays. When we try to control our joy, it leaves. That’s the way these processes are” (Anne Wilson Schaef). Thus, we are encouraged not to refuse our grief but rather to embrace it with all its challenges and complexities.
In addition to being painful, grief also may be complicated and contain feelings which we believe “we should not have.” Our culture may convey the message that we should not be angry at someone who just died or we should not feel relieved that we no longer have to care for someone. There can be many “unresolved” issues with the person who died or in some way left our life. As with the painful feelings associated with grief, we also must be willing to acknowledge the “unresolved” aspects of grief and attempt to reach acceptance even without total resolution.
Another aspect of grief that sometimes can be overlooked is what we might call the “cumulative” impact of loss. People frequently report that after a loss they re-experience previous losses and thus feel more grief than they might anticipate due to this cumulative impact. This is especially true when prior losses have not be adequately grieved and/or the individual has not yet reached a place of peace/acceptance with prior losses.

Finally, we must realize that grief can and often does challenge our sense of who were are or how we create meaning. If we identify with a person or with our role in that person’s life–wife, husband, child, parent, friend, etc., then our identity and/or sense of purpose is challenged when that person dies or leaves our life. Grief can exist not only as a result of death, but also as result of losing someone or something that has been important to us, such as through divorce or loss of employment, health, independence, etc. It seems significant to associate grief not only with death but also with loss in general in order to fully understand its impact.
For a variety of reasons many of us would rather avoid than embrace grief. However, as stated earlier, grief can be its own medicine that must be expressed in order for it to heal. However expressed, be it through talking, writing, creating, exercising, crying, etc., it is important to somehow express our grief in order to release its healing power.

About the Author:

James Miller is the Bereavement Coordinator for Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice.  Working directly with clients and their families James also hosts a number of community support groups. Upcoming events include a 90 minute information & support meeting regarding grief during the holidays at the following locations and times:

  • November 18th from 5:30 – 7:00 PM and December 16th from 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM in the Library Room at All Saints Episcopal Church, 258 S. Main Street in Wolfeboro, NH.
  • December 9th from 6:00 – 7:30 PM in the Conference Room, Central NH VNA & Hospice, 780 N. Main Street in Laconia, NH.

The purpose of the meeting is to help individuals who have lost a loved one find ways to cope with their grief during the holidays.