When Grief Feels Angry

Submitted Anonymously

Dealing with anger towards a deceased loved one is a difficult task, but a very natural part of healing.  We often encourage bereaved clients to “accept and express all your feelings, including the anger” as they’re able.  Here is what one person anonymously submitted in hopes of healing.  Remember, you are not your feelings;  Your feelings come and go, if you let them go.

“My grandson believes that perhaps my husband was a romantic and explains that through bad times, a romantic embraces a vision of love and buries bad feelings.  That’s what I am.

I never felt love in my early family.  I married my husband for love and I’m not sure if I ever got it.  I don’t know if he loved me.  He wasn’t himself when he came back from the war but I took care of him like I did my family at home and picked up with him where I left off with them.

He eventually joined a profession and that helped him and kept his mind going.  He was very busy.   I thought I had to help him with his job so I was there for him because I’ve always felt he and my parents (and others!) couldn’t do it without me.

I helped him until the end and hated it because I wanted to be loved.  It’s important, before I die, for me to understand what happened to me.  I don’t want to hate him.  I want to get over this.  I’m not out to degrade my husband.  I’m hoping this could help me (and maybe another person) get rid of anger.”

This kind of submission does not happen easily, but through the processing of many thoughts and feelings.  If you struggle with anger, you are not alone.  If you would benefit from in-person counseling to discuss and help process your emotions with a supportive professional, please know that the bereavement care team at Community Hospice can provide you with that compassionate care.


Community Hospice offers individual in-person counseling, support groups and telephone support.  If there are other dates/times for groups that would be beneficial to you, we  welcome feedback and suggestions. If you would like information on our program services, please contact the Bereavement Team at 1-800-947-7284 or email at bereavement@myhospice.org.



The Starfish Philosophy from a Volunteer’s Perspective

Written by Gayle Mack, Community Hospice Volunteer

As volunteers, many of us have had lives full of responsibilities, whether it be with jobs or families.  At times we may have taken on too much and felt overloaded.  Somehow we learned to juggle and manage.  Always busy, there were so many expectations and people to keep happy!

Now, we enter the realm of volunteerism at Community Hospice where we see the whirlwind begin and end for many people.  Caregivers and families are very involved in crisis mode.  Employees run and work and strive to provide comfort and peace.

But as a volunteer, my experience has been one of wait and see.  What can I do?  There is a shift from being in the center of the frenzied business at hand, to stepping aside, yet still making oneself available.  Patience, and unhurried thoughtfulness are new priorities and new qualities to consider.  The frustration that comes from not knowing if you are doing enough, reminded me of the Starfish story: An older man walking at the beach was observing a young boy along the shore, stooping over and throwing something into the sea.  It seemed that hundreds of starfish had been washed up out of the ocean.  The older man knew they would not survive long and he felt saddened by the desperate state of affairs. When he reached the boy, he asks him what he is doing and the boy tells him that all these starfish have been washed ashore and he knows they will die so he is throwing them back. The older man sees the monumental task and knows they can’t all be saved.  He asks the boy, “How can you make a difference with a problem as big as this?”  As the young boy determinedly tossed one of the starfish back into the water, he replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one.”

Obviously, we can’t help everyone, but if we made positive contact with even one person, we can make a difference.  It’s not the quantity when it comes to kindness shown but the quality, and the heart intent.

Remember the Starfish Philosophy – one fish, one day at a time!


Color My World

Written by Gayle Mack, Community Hospice Volunteer

I recently watched a news clip about a 10-year-old boy in Iowa who was colorblind.  The boy was given a special pair of glasses, an optical assistive device, that opened the world of color up to him for the first time.  As he put on the glasses, true joy showed on his face.  He would have lived the rest of his life in a world of vague, dull tones without these special glasses.

When an individual is faced with illness or depression, the world can feel like that.  It is nondescript gray, one day after another.  You know there are still colors out there, but your world is colorblind.

Then one day, someone offers an opportunity to change your view.  They are not promising that you will see as you did before, but they are offering you a glimpse of a brighter day in some way. As with the special optical glasses, the young boy’s colorblindness was not cured, but while he wore them, the world was richer and fuller and more beautiful.

Hospice volunteers can contrast that one dimensional grayness by: honoring a veteran with the red, white and blue; delivering a bright yellow flower to a dark room; serving a plate of red rigatoni; offering colored pens to write a remembrance on a stone; pulling a blue comforter up to a chin.  Whether it is opening a shade to view a sunset, a visit, a prayer, a salute, a smile, giving smooth cold ice cream: all are given as a gesture of adding color and texture to someone else’s life.

In the segment about the young boy, there was an emotional moment when the 10-year-old falls onto his father’s shoulder crying.  Perhaps one might wonder that he could surely get along without the optical glasses, that he should be glad he could see at all.  But the addition of color mattered greatly to that one boy and it mattered to his family. After seeing his first sunrise, he now looks forward to rainbows.

That is what we as volunteers endeavor to do.  We want to express that it matters that you live in color and that your soul is nurtured.  As long as you have breath, you are alive.  We want to take the time to share a glimpse of color.  It matters to that one patient and it matters to their family.


Hope Flows Through Us

By: Norm Mast, President/CEO of Community Hospice

HOPE.  It’s a word that often has a negative meaning when associated with Hospice.  Most people you talk with will say that when you sign up with Hospice you are “giving up hope”.  I would like to propose that just the opposite is true.  Hospice is not about “giving up hope”, but restoring it and helping people revise what they may hope for. Community Hospice focuses on maximizing the quality of life based on the individual’s choices, so that the person may live life as fully as possible for as long as possible.

Hospice helps patients reclaim the spirit of life. It helps them understand that even though death can lead to sadness, anger, and pain, it can also lead to opportunities for reminiscence, laughter, reunion, and hope.  Community Hospice helps those we serve to continue to hope and plan each day for optimal quality of life.  Hope can be found from helping our patients and families achieve the highest possible level of physical comfort and peace of mind.

Ultimately, hope means different things to different people, and the compassionate staff of Community Hospice will be there for you on your journey … to live out whatever hope means to you.  Hospice patients never give up, nor do our staff and families give up. Care focuses on hope: hope to be pain free, hope to sit on the porch, hope to see your grandchild’s wedding or hope to celebrate your anniversary. We always hope for a cure, however if that is not possible, our goal at Community Hospice is that we are the vessel through which hope flows!


An Anniversary To Remember

Special anniversaries are very important milestones for our patients and their families. This held true for Kathryn and her husband Ted, who celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary in August. Betty’s Gift Fund provided resources for Community Hospice staff to serve the couple a delicious lasagna dinner from Uncle  Primo’s at New Dawn Health Care. They also received a card, a chocolate cake (Kathryn’s favorite) and some lovely roses. The couple enjoyed their meal and shared some stories and photos of their life together.  They started dating when Ted was 17 and Kathryn was 15. After 4 years of dating, the couple married. Ted asked Kathryn why she married him and her reasons were “You had good teeth, good hair, good eyes, and you were taller than me.”

This beautiful couple had some wisdom to share as well.

  1. 1)  Always have goals together
  2. 2)  Don’t get too excited about things
  3. 3)  Don’t go to bed angry at each other

They also have a secret code to say  sorry to each other which Kathryn    created. Ted shared some of their trials and the scripture they have believed in.  Deuteronomy 31:6  ” Be strong and courageous! …. He will   never leave you nor forsake you.”

They have displayed this strength and courage through the years together and know that their God nor each other will never leave them through this journey. This special experience was made possible by the Betty’s Gift fund.


Community Hospice from Down Under; A Maintenance Man’s Perspective

By Mark McKenzie, Facility Manager

My duties here at the Truman House give me a unique opportunity to come into contact with every aspect of the care we provide our patients and families; from Medical Records and Accounting, to Nurses and Aides, and everything in between.

In addressing the various maintenance needs of our organization, I am active in our greater community seeking pieces, parts and a variety of services that allow us to function smoothly and provide the best care possible. The beauty of my engagement with our greater community is that I am in perpetual contact with individuals whose families we have served.  It really doesn’t matter where I go – be it the grocery, the dry cleaners, restaurant supply or a local contractor because I wear my Community Hospice t-shirt everywhere I go, it is easy for people to identify my connection to our service.   As a result I have the honor and pleasure to hear stories and continuous expressions of gratitude pertaining to the quality of care their loved ones

received from our staff.  As I leave these intimate conversations, I always step a little lighter knowing that I get to be part of an organization that touches people at the level of their soul!  They become a part of us and we become a part of them in unspoken ways that changes all of our lives, forever!

One of the beautiful things that takes place in this unspoken world is the small gifts of gratitude that cycle back to Community Hospice in the most humble of ways.  Like several tons of rocks delivered and donated for our Rock Remembrance Garden; a Vita Mix blender for making staff and families smoothies; contractor services that go un-billed; student labor to help spread the 40 yards of mulch needed to keep our landscape looking sharp;   donated turkeys during holiday season; donuts; meals; you name it.  None of this we ask for!

Anyone who enters the world of Hospice Care, from volunteers to staff, becomes a steward of these sacred relationships.  We all carry loads here at Community Hospice that at times can feel overwhelming.  The beauty of this commitment to carry the load that is necessary, at times difficult and exhausting, is that we have all been a part of honoring the sacred. As a result, we perpetuate a stream of unspoken gratitude that circulates in our community, that stimulates acts of kindness and compassion which gives all of our lives meaning.  What a gift!

Giving a helping hand to another , helping concept

Hospice Patient Spotlight: The Korns Family

There are several Korn's Familyemotions, so close to the surface for anyone who is being admitted into hospice care. Family members feel the same turmoil even though they know it is the right decision for their loved one. Whether our patient is admitted into home care, a facility or into the Hospice House, our goal is to bring physical and emotional comfort to our patient and their family. Medicine, of course, is a part of the process but making loved ones feel welcomed into our care calms fears and lessens stress.

Raymond “Dale” Korns and his wife Chrystel have a wonderful, close-knit  family with several generations who share love and support. While in the Hospice House, the Korns family welcomed a stream of visitors who brought food, a shoulder to rest on and kind words.  On one Saturday evening, they gathered with friends and family for a pizza party just outside of Dale’s room. Memories were shared and new memories made during that very special evening. The Hospice House became a gathering place and a home away from home. We at Community Hospice are blessed and consider it a privilege to be a part of this special time in our patient and their family’s lives.