When grieving, gather.

“Whether you are dealing with an anticipatory loss due to illness or have had a loved one die, you are invited to join us for a cup of tea while we share our collective stories and wisdom, spoken from a perspective of a grieving heart,” stated Heartland Hospice bereavement coordinator Audrey Lukasak, guest of Chatfield United Methodist Church’s (CUMC) The Gathering Place, hosted by CUMC parish nurse Bev Simpson.

Lukasak continued, “I will facilitate a group who is interested in learning how to bring healing to their souls when their hearts have been broken open…when they may have lost a loved one or when they have lost or are losing their good health.”

The Heartland Hospice presentation will feature Lukasak’s knowledge about how to cope with changes in one’s life.

Simpson explained, “Audrey will facilitate the group using her experience as a bereavement coordinator. She will take the group where they want to go. She may have some handouts, but she is very relaxed and yet very professional. People who attend may come and share or just listen, and hopefully they’ll feel supported and take home new ideas or maybe enjoy a bit of time away.”

Simpson noted that the presentation is meant for Chatfield families dealing with cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, caregiving and more.

“All of these people are invited,” she said. “Caregivers especially are invited to share their experiences and to gain insight as they care for loved ones.”

She observed the intended audience might have different circumstances but a common understanding. “As we become seniors, we begin to experience more losses – friends, families, our health,” she said. “The Gathering Place welcomes seniors and their loved ones to share those experiences and offers a place to receive support to make those experiences more bearable.”

Simpson related that The Gathering Place is hosting the event for several reasons. “We are hosting because all of us face grief as we lose loved ones or our health or the health of our loved one for whom we are caring,” she said. “We all need to know that others are dealing with similar situations and that others do care. Over the past few years, Heartland, Seasons and Mayo hospices have supported our Chatfield and surrounding community’s individuals and families.”

Simpson also said these gatherings are one way to advertise those supporting agencies and, at the same time, let people know they are surrounded by those who care. Also, these local meetings allow people to attend without driving 20 miles for support.

“We are surrounded by supporting organizations. This makes it easier for people to attend and doesn’t require a lot of travel time,” she added.

The Gathering Place will welcome Lukasak on Monday, March 20, at 4 p.m. at the Chatfield Public Library, and again on Wednesday, April 5, at the Chosen Valley Care Center Independent Living dining room at 9 a.m., offering a second chance for those who might have missed the first presentation. Tea and cookies will be served at the program.

Lukasak said, “Feel free to bring a favorite teacup or mug, along with a picture of your loved one.”

Additionally, The Gathering Place has other programming of various kinds for senior citizens and their families.

Simpson reminded, “The Living With Cancer Support Group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 11 a.m. to noon at Chatfield United Methodist Church, and the Alzheimer’s and Caregiver Group meets at Chosen Valley Care Center Independent Living’s dining room on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.”

For more information on The Gathering Place’s upcoming hospice program or any of its other sessions, contact Bev Simpson at 507-867-0064.