GRIEVING AND GROWING:
A SUPPORT GROUP FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS ADJUSTING TO LOSS
Hospice By the Bay, 17 East Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Larkspur
Young people often grieve differently than adults.
Hospice By the Bay's eight-week support group provides children and teens, who are coping with the death of a loved one, a safe and open place to be with other young people who are grieving.
Led by a certified art therapist.
Learn and practice different ways of building inner resources, such as stress management, relaxation techniques, mindfulness, guided visualization, body awareness, and expressive arts.
Reservations are required. Call the Bereavement Team at 526.5699, ext. 8500.
The fee for one group series is waived for those whose family member received Hospice By the Bay care in the past year. Donations are gratefully accepted. For other community members, the fee is $175. Hospice By the Bay is committed to providing support to anyone who needs our services regardless of their financial circumstances. Contact the Bereavement Team to qualify for our sliding scale fee.
For online information about all Hospice By the Bay Bereavement groups and activities, visit hospicebythebay.org
American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Organization of physicians and medical professionals dedicated to excellence in and advancement of palliative medicine through prevention and relief of patient and family suffering. Provides clinical practice standards, fostering research, facilitating personal and professional development, public policy advocacy.
American Hospice Foundation
800 347-1413 toll-free
Mission to improve access to quality hospice care through public education, professional training, and advocacy on behalf of consumers. Provides training for school professionals and employers on grief issues. Offers tools to help hospices reach out to their communities. Researches consumer needs and preferences in end-of-life care.
Americans for Better Care of the Dying
Seeks to achieve substantive health care reform through improved pain management, better financial reimbursement systems, enhanced continuity of care, support for family caregivers, and changes in public policy.
“Grief and Growing” is a healing weekend for bereaved individuals and families, once a year, usually in May. Through creative play, discussions, ritual, and the healing power of nature, the program is designed to create a safe place to explore feelings and concerns with a sympathetic and supportive community. Open to all although the program includes some Jewish practices.
Children’s Hospice International
800 242-4453 toll-free
CHI provides a network of support for dying children and their families. Serves as a clearinghouse for research programs and support groups and offers educational materials and training programs on pain management and the care of seriously ill children.
Compassion & Choices of Northern California
Compassion & Choices of Northern California seeks to educate terminally-ill individuals and their families about their rights to a dignified, humane, and peaceful death. We provide free services to a diverse and multicultural community with a focus on comfort care and pain management. Additionally, we strive to increase awareness of, and access to, the full range of end-of-life choices by educating the public at large and advocating for change to existing laws.
An online bookstore with hundreds of excellent books and tapes on loss, grief, death and dying.
Compassion in Dying
Provides national leadership for client services, legal advocacy and public education to increase patient empowerment and self-determination and expand end-of-life choices to include aid-in-dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.
Courage to Choose/ Courage to Care
Consultations, workshops, and educational offerings for professionals and the public related to essential conversations about end-of-life wishes.
The website of Ira Block MD is filled with valuable information about death and dying, including an extensive list of books and resources.
An internet community of persons dealing with grief, death, and major loss. Over 50 e-mail support groups.
Hospice By The Bay
17 East Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Larkspur, California 94939
1902 Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, California 94109
190 West Napa Street
Sonoma, California 95476
Grief is the normal reaction we all have to loss. It is a natural, universal, and stressful experience. Bereavement refers to the period of time following a loss during which people adapt to the many changes involved in going on with life without the person who has died. Each person's grief is unique and is felt and expressed in individual ways. Grieving people have varied needs. Because of these individual differences, Hospice By The Bay offers a variety of bereavement services to family members.
The Bereavement Program is designed to provide education and opportunities for support so that individuals can move ahead toward a a healthy adjustment to life following the death of someone significant in their lives.
Family members served by Hospice By The Bay are notified of supportive activities and events. Some services are available to them at no charge. For other community members, counseling is available on a sliding fee scale. In Marin, Medi-Cal is accepted for some services.
Hospice By The Bay does not discriminate in the provision of care on the basis of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, color, age, handicap, lifestyle, ethnicity, or ability to pay.
Commitment to providing the highest quality hospice and palliative care, grief counseling and support , emotional and spiritual care to individuals and their loved ones, with the goal of bringing solace and meaning to each day of life. Second oldest hospice in the U.S. Formerly Hospice of Marin and now expanded their geographic region to include Marin, San Francisco, and Sonoma. Hospice By The Bay Foundation strives to secure the necessary funds to supplement Medicare and other insurance providers so that no one is turned away.
Daytime and evening groups provide emotional support, time to share feelings, education about the grief process, and ways to cope with loss. Some meet once a week for several weeks and others are one-time workshops. For family members of Hospice patients, there is no charge, although donations are gratefully accepted. Community members are welcome on a sliding fee scale basis.
Support and guidance in coping throughout the grief process are available from a Hospice Bereavement Counselor, before and following the death of a loved one. Family members of Hospice patients receive six sessions at no charge for up to a year. Counseling sessions are usually held weekly and focus on issues related to grief and its effects. Community members who anticipate a loss or have lost a loved one are also eligible for services on a sliding fee scale basis. In Marin County, Medi-Cal is accepted for some services.
Trained volunteers provide family members with emotional support and practical assistance after a loved one's death.
For children in grief from ages 4 to 18. Individual and family counseling are available as well as support groups. The creative arts and play are used to help children express their emotions. School presentations for children and faculty are also offered, as are on-site school grief support groups when a community shares a loss. Children can also attend a weekend summer camp program to help them cope with grief and loss.
Hospice staff members offer community presentation about the complexities of the grief process. They emphasize practical support, assistance in identifying the effects of grief and adjusting to loss. Printed materials are available to further help understand these issues.
Hospice Spiritual Support Counselors are available for pastoral counseling and to comfort the bereaved.
Service of Remembrance
Services of Remembrance, in memory of those who have died, are held each year. They are ecumenical and include music, readings, and prayers. They are open to the community and offer an opportunity to join with others in remembering loved ones.
Hospice Education Institute
800 331-1620 toll-free
Serves a wide range of individuals and organizations interested in improving and expanding hospice and palliative care throughout the U.S. and around the world. Works to inform, educate, and support people seeking or providing care for the dying and the bereaved. HOSPICELINK
(HospiceLink@hospiceworld.org), a service of the Institute, maintains a database directory of all hospice and palliative care programs. It also provides information about the principles and practices of good hospice and palliative care.
Hospice Foundation of America
800 854-3402 toll-free
Mission is to promote the development and application of hospice and its philosophy of care to enhance the American healthcare system. Assists individuals who are coping with issues of care-giving, terminal illness, and grief by providing education, publications, and an online hospice locator.
International Association Hospice and Palliative Care
866 374-2472 toll-free
Promotes the development of hospice and palliative care for patients and families. Works with existing associations, agencies, and individuals to improve communication, access to resources, and opportunities in education and training.
Kara Grief Support
457 Kingsley AvenuePalo Alto, California 94301
A center offering compassionate peer support and education to individuals, families, and organizations coping with death and dying. Mission is to empower children, teens, and adults to find their way through grief so that they can rebuild their lives with renewed hope and meaning.
Living/ Dying Project
P.O. Box 357
Fairfax, California 94978
Provides spiritual support for those faced with a life-threatening illness, their family and caregivers.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
800 658-8898 toll-free helpline
NHPCO is a membership organization representing programs and professionals that provide hospice and palliative care in the U.S. The mission is to lead and mobilize social change for improved care at the end-of-life. Offers publications, information about how to find a hospice, and information about the financial aspects of hospice. Maintains a consumer-focused website called Caring Connections (www.caringinfo.org) that provides a wide range of free materials about hospice, palliative care, advance care planning, caregiving, etc. Some Spanish-language publications are available.
Zen Hospice of San Francisco
273 Page Street
San Francisco, California 94102
Dedicated to the care of people approaching death and to increasing our understanding of our own impermanence.
Metta Institute was established to provide education on spirituality in dying. Inspired by the Buddhist tradition, we encourage the integration of the spiritual dimensions of living, dying and transformation through professional training, educational programs and materials.
Our Institute was formed in 2004 as an outgrowth of the Zen Hospice Project nationally recognized as a pioneering model in the movement to improve end-of-life care. Our Director, Frank Ostaseski, helped form the Zen Hospice Project in 1987 and guided the program for 17 years.
Currently, the Metta Institute's primary program is the End-of-Life Care Practitioner Program. The goal of the innovative training is to establish a national network of educators, advocates, and guides for those facing life-threatening illness and the individuals and systems that serve them.
Our faculty members are leading voices in re-visioning dying in America We are advocates for reclaiming the soul in caregiving and restoring a life-affirming and transformative relationship to dying.
Metta is an ancient Pali (Buddhist) term meaning loving kindness, friendliness, benevolence and non-violence. It is a strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others. We chose it as our name because we believe it expresses the essential human quality that is most beneficial in the lives of those who are dying and their caregivers. We also wanted a name that reflected our intention to have our work be guided by Buddhist teachings and ethics.
In our experience, we have noticed many dying people form two fundamental questions, "Am I loved?" and "Did I love well?"
So we asked ourselves what might be universally valuable at the time of dying. The answer was simple.... loving kindness. Metta is a love without attachment, a non-exclusive love, independent of self-interest. It fosters a sense of belonging and a feeling of safety, reducing feelings of isolation. It calms a distraught mind and serves as an antidote to anger and fear. Through the practice of Metta, we cultivate the qualities of ease and well-being. It encourages us to express our generosity and kindness for all beings.
And so taking Metta as our name reminds us to go to the heart of the great matter of life and death.
The practice of Metta meditation is a beautiful support to other awareness practices. One recites specific words and phrases evoking a "boundless warm-hearted feeling." The strength of this feeling is not limited to or by family, religion, or social class. We begin with our self and gradually extend the wish for well-being happiness to all beings.
There are different descriptions of the practice. The following is a basic set of instructions from the book "The Issue at Hand"
by Gil Fronsdal
written as a gift to the community. It is freely given.
Brief Instructions for Loving-Kindness Meditation
To practice loving-kindness meditation, sit in a comfortable and relaxed manner. Take two or three deep breaths with slow, long and complete exhalations. Let go of any concerns or preoccupations. For a few minutes, feel or imagine the breath moving through the center of your chest - in the area of your heart.
Metta is first practiced toward oneself, since we often have difficulty loving others without first loving ourselves. Sitting quietly, mentally repeat, slowly and steadily, the following or similar phrases:
May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.
While you say these phrases, allow yourself to sink into the intentions they express. Loving-kindness meditation consists primarily of connecting to the intention of wishing ourselves or others happiness. However, if feelings of warmth, friendliness, or love arise in the body or mind, connect to them, allowing them to grow as you repeat the phrases. As an aid to the meditation, you might hold an image of yourself in your mind's eye. This helps reinforce the intentions expressed in the phrases.
After a period of directing loving-kindness toward yourself, bring to mind a friend or someone in your life who has deeply cared for you. Then slowly repeat phrases of loving-kindness toward them:
May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.
As you say these phrases, again sink into their intention or heartfelt meaning. And, if any feelings of loving-kindness arise, connect the feelings with the phrases so that the feelings may become stronger as you repeat the words.
As you continue the meditation, you can bring to mind other friends, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers, animals, and finally people with whom you have difficulty. You can either use the same phrases, repeating them again and again, or make up phrases that better represent the loving-kindness you feel toward these beings. In addition to simple and perhaps personal and creative forms of metta practice, there is a classic and systematic approach to metta as an intensive meditation practice. Because the classic meditation is fairly elaborate, it is usually undertaken during periods of intensive metta practice on retreat.
Sometimes during loving-kindness meditation, seemingly opposite feelings such as anger, grief, or sadness may arise. Take these to be signs that your heart is softening, revealing what is held there. You can either shift to mindfulness practice or you can—with whatever patience, acceptance, and kindness you can muster for such feelings—direct loving-kindness toward them. Above all, remember that there is no need to judge yourself for having these feelings.
BUDDHA'S TEACHING ON UNIVERSAL LOVING-KINDNESS
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.
The Blessings of Metta
Monks, when universal love leading to liberation of mind is ardently practiced, developed, unrelentingly resorted to, used as one's vehicle, made the foundation of one's life, fully established, well consolidated and perfected, then these eleven blessings may be expected. What eleven?
One sleeps happily; one wakes happily; one does not suffer bad dreams; one is dear to human beings; one is dear to non-human beings; the gods protect one; no fire or poison or weapon harms one; one's mind gets quickly concentrated; the expression of one's face is serene; one dies unperturbed; and even if one fails to attain higher states, one will at least reach the state of the Brahma world.
Monks, when universal love leading to liberation of mind is ardently practiced, developed, unrelentingly resorted to, used as one's vehicle, made the foundation of one's life, fully established, well consolidated and perfected, then these eleven blessings may be expected.
Anguttara Nikaya, 11:16
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