Talbot Hospice Quilt Tells Story of Grief – Holiday Grief Support Sessions Announced

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The process of grieving does not only happen with the deaths of loved ones, but also occurs with those caring for those who are terminally-ill or dying. Talbot Hospice offers support for both through its caregiver and bereavement support groups.

According to Jeanne Hechmer of Easton, who has been a member of Talbot Hospice’s Caregiver Support Group for about a year, talking with others who are experiencing the loss and grief around illness and death can be helpful in finding the “normal” again in our lives. The group meets every Thursday from 1 to 2:15 p.m. and is for caregivers who are taking care of a loved one with a life-limiting illness. The meeting offers the opportunity to listen for solutions to challenging situations and a chance to share situations in a compassionate environment.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.57.15 AMHechmer, who is a longtime quilter, recently created a quilt for the new Support Group meeting room in the Clark-Guthrie Center at Talbot Hospice.

She comments, “Quilting has been my therapy through this journey of caregiving. I make quilts to tell stories. Shelly Kulp, the Bereavement Coordinator at Talbot Hospice, asked me if I could create a quilt for the blank wall in our meeting room. I named the quilt “Disruption” because of how our lives are disrupted by illness and death.”

The quilt, which boasts bold purple and blue fabrics, includes squares split in two and stitched back together, representing how the support groups help put lives back together following illness or death. The tie dye fabrics in the squares resemble the tears shed in the grieving process, while the nature-related fabrics show the importance of caregivers need to care for themselves through the process. The ribbon yarn that joins the squares together represents the support network that the group weaves together to get them through the journey.

Shelly Kulp, comments, “Jeanne has been an integral part of the Caregiver Support Group. We were thrilled when she agreed to make the quilt. People notice the quilt immediately when they arrive in the group the first time. Jeanne wove her ‘caregiver journey’ into the quilt. It helps them feel the welcome nature of the group.”

Hechmer adds, “It’s amazing at the end of one session how everyone says they are so grateful for having come to the support group. They often say that don’t feel alone anymore. We are like an instant family.”

The Caregiver Support Group meets weekly and includes approximately eight members. It provides a safe place for caregivers to tell their stories and to feel support. In addition to the Caregiver Support Group, Talbot Hospice offers two six-week sessions of group grief support each fall and spring. For Hechmer, who recently experienced the death of the husband for whom she cared, the next step will be to attend a Grief Support Group. Hospice Foundation of America recommends that bereaved people wait until five to six months post-loss to join a support group.

Talbot Hospice also offers individual and family grief consultation. There is also an ongoing monthly grief support group for those in the community grieving the loss of a loved one due to substance abuse. The group meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For children and adolescents, Talbot Hospice works in conjunction with both public and private schools in Talbot County.

During the holidays, Talbot Hospice offers a special support group, “Grieving Through the Holidays,” which will meet this year on December 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. or December 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. This session is specifically designed to address this special time of the year when it may be challenging to face the traditions and social events associated with the holidays while going through grief.

Kulp adds, “It is helpful to figure out what your holidays will look like in grief. Grief does affect how you celebrate the holidays and we can offer positive and innovative ideas for how to handle it and have realistic expectations.”

According to Kulp, people who are grieving can give themselves permission to say no to things they have done before and yes to new things during the holidays. She adds that it is also a time to ask for help and to find people to help you get through the holidays.

Talbot Hospice’s bereavement services are offered without charge and there is no requirement for a loved one to have been a hospice patient. Bereavement services are also offered to anyone, regardless of county of residence. Support Groups meet at 586 Cynwood Drive in Talbot Hospice’s Clark-Guthrie Center. Visit talbothospice.org or contact Talbot Hospice’s Bereavement Coordinator at 410-822-6681, ext. 16.

Caption: Pictured left to right are quilter Jeanne Hechmer of Easton, who has been a member of Talbot Hospice’s Caregiver Support Group for about a year, with Shelly Kulp, the Bereavement Coordinator at Talbot Hospice. Hechmer recently created this quilt, titled “Disruption,” for the new Support Group meeting room in the Clark-Guthrie Center at Talbot Hospice. During the holidays, Talbot Hospice is also offering a special support group, “Grieving Through the Holidays,” which will meet this year on December 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. or December 16 from 1 to 3 p.m., for dealing with holidays while going through the grief process.

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