Hospice bereavement provides a variety of support services to help hospice bereaved (family and friends of a hospice patient) through the first 13 months of grief after the death of your loved one. Grief support services are free.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.
Need support immediately?
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis and need someone to talk to, call:
- Your local Crisis Response provider
- Crisis Text Line MN - text "MN" to 74141
MN's suicide prevention and mental health crisis texting service now available 24/7
- Metro Children's Crisis Response
- 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline - call, text or chat 988
Formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), this services provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
- Regular bereavement mailings - Mailings continue through the first year of grief and may include a grief resource pack, quarterly mailings (to let you know what to expect around three, six and nine months after the death), a twice-yearly newsletter, and additional printed grief literature upon request.
- Check-in phone calls - At minimum, one call will be made within the first few months after the death of your loved one. Ongoing check-in calls can be made upon request.
- Home visits - We provide support from the hospice bereavement coordinator to your home and in the community
- Support Groups - Access a list of support groups in the Twin Cities
- Community Referrals - referrals to local grief counselors and other community resources.
Often in the process of grieving, people may wonder if what they are experiencing is normal. Although grieving often involves a wide range of emotions, and the paths people take on their grief journey may vary, there are some common emotions that many people experience along the way. For instance, most people who are grieving will normally go through a period of numbness in the beginning. It may seem as if you are simply "going through the motions" of life, but feeling little. This is part of healthy grieving, because it is your body and mind’s way of protecting you from the first, intense shock of loss.
As you move out of this period of numbness and begin to feel, it is common to have a mix of strong emotions, including anger, fear, guilt, or even relief. You may feel anxious, confused, and lonely, and notice that your ability to concentrate is poor. Grief can even manifest itself in physical symptoms, such as loss of appetite, lack of motivation or energy, physical pain or illness, or trouble sleeping. Although these are all part of normal grieving, it is important to seek support from family, friends, a support group, a faith community, and/or professional counselor, so that you can move forward with the most important task of grieving, which is not to forget the person you have lost, but to begin to build a new reality in the presence of that loss.
As you are on this journey of grief, remember that it is just that, a journey. Whether you are experiencing normal or complicated grief, it is important to know that grief doesn’t ever truly go away. Although there is no specific timeline, you can expect that your feelings of intense grief will lessen over time, and you will gradually return to your normal routines of daily life. However, most people who are grieving experience good days and bad days, with periods of healing and growth followed by temporary setbacks. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special days often bring about renewed feelings of grief. If you are able to anticipate these times, you may be able to prepare yourself, but sometimes these feelings will just catch you by surprise. It may help to know that these renewed feelings of grief are rarely as intense or longlasting as the initial grief you felt, and with support, these feelings, too, will begin to soften.
If you feel that you are not able to move forward in your grief, or have intense feelings of grief for a prolonged period of time, seek professional help to rule out complicated grief or depression. Most importantly, if you have any thoughts of harming yourself, seek help immediately by contacting:
- Your local Crisis Response provider
- Hennepin COPE, 612-596-1223
If you are not sure where to turn for help or support, we will be happy to talk with you over the phone or in person, or connect you with support resources in your community.
Some of the most frequent questions we encounter in working with hospice families involve how children grieve, and how the adults in their lives can best explain difficult concepts and provide support. Children of all ages recognize and respond to the death of a loved one, but their expressions of grief can vary widely based upon their developmental stage. This webinar, Helping Your Grieving Children, lays out the different stages and ways to help children and youth who are grieving.
Here are other highly recommended resources to support grieving children:
- Child Life Mommy, Grief and Loss: A Guide for Caregivers
- The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families
- National Alliance for Children's Grief
- New York Life Foundation
- What's Your Grief - Going back to school after a death
- Grief camps for children and families
We highly recommend these resources to help you on your grief journey:
- AfterTalk - a place for comfort and sharing for those who have experienced loss or are supporting a loved one in hospice care (online resource)
- Brighter Days Grief Center (Eden Prairie, MN)
- Center for Loss and Life Transition (online resource)
- Center for Grief and Loss (St. Paul, MN)
- Grief Resources: Support groups
- Grieving.com (online grief support community)
- Hospice Foundation of America - resources for grief and coping with loss, including articles, videos, and other helpful resources
- What's Your Grief? - a place for sharing, support, resources, and more.