The bereavement experience
Grief is a normal, though often painful, response to a significant loss. It touches every aspect of our being—emotional state, physical wellness, thought process, activity level, social interaction, and spiritual understanding. It can take longer to heal from than we expect.
If you have experienced a recent loss, you may feel tired, irritable, anxious, sad, and lonely; have trouble sleeping and eating; have physical aches and pains; have trouble remembering things or thinking clearly; and withdraw from friends and family or your faith community or spiritual practice. Because grief affects so much of our functioning, it can be overwhelming and even frightening, and others may have a hard time knowing how best to support us.
Accessing professional support as we heal from a loss may help make the adjustment process a bit easier to bear.
The Kaiser Permanente hospice bereavement program offers grief support to family members served by our hospice program as well as members of the community who did not receive hospice care. Services include:
- Information about grief.
- Mailing series for hospice family members.
- Individual counseling for hospice family members.
- Grief groups and classes.
- Support phone calls from a hospice bereavement volunteer.
- Memorial gatherings.
- Referrals to community resources.
To see if you may be eligible for these services, or for additional information, please contact the bereavement program at 503-499-5242.
If you are a Kaiser Permanente member in need of immediate mental health support, please call 503-249-3434 or 360-571-3133.
Grief groups and schedule: Being in a safe space with others who understand the experience of grief can help decrease loneliness, increase feelings of support, and provide ideas for coping in a changed world. Our support groups meet bimonthly in four locations throughout the Portland metropolitan area. Our educational grief class meets three times a year for eight weeks at a time. Professional staff members facilitate all groups and classes:
- Vancouver group, first and third Mondays, 4–5:30 p.m.
- Beaverton/Hillsboro group, second and fourth Tuesdays, 2–3:30 p.m.
- Portland group, second and fourth Wednesdays, 4–5:30 p.m.
- Clackamas group, first and third Thursdays, 4:30–6 p.m.
- Living after Loss class, offered three times a year, eight weeks at a time.
For locations and more information, call 503-499-5242.
Community resources include programs that help grieving families of children and teens, survivors of suicide, and parents who have experienced a child’s death. If you have questions about other resources that may be available for your loss, please contact the Kaiser Permanente bereavement program for more information.
- The Dougy Center/Portland area—service for children, teens, young adults, and families—503-775-5683.
- Stepping Stones/Vancouver area—service for children, teens, and their families—360-696-5100.
- Me, Too/Portland area—service for children, teens, and their families—503-220-1000.
- Suicide Bereavement Support/Portland and Vancouver—503-236-7524.
- Compassionate Friends—peer support for parents who have experienced a child’s death—503-248-0102.