“It’s often difficult to talk to other men about grief,” Michael says at a recent men’s breakfast provided by Homeland Hospice. “This group understands that losing a loved one is a journey.”
Michael began attending Homeland Hospice’s breakfast series more than two years ago after the death of his mother. Through the group, he has found a supportive network of friends who understand that grief doesn’t operate on a fixed timeline. Together, they help one another find new purpose amidst the pain of loss.
“Sometimes I feel like the ‘odd man out’ because I’m grieving the loss of my mother while the other men have lost their spouses,” Michael adds. “Everyone in the group understands heartache. They listen and offer their support.
At the most recent breakfast in August, attendees talked about their happy and challenging moments of their summer. For many, vacations with family members and time with friends provided a necessary respite.
“It’s okay to take a break from your grief,” Brian Medkeff-Rose, M.Div., M.A., Bereavement Counselor at Homeland Hospice says. “Self-care is important to keep your mind and body healthy.
For several of the men, the loss of a loved one coupled with retirement has compounded their loneliness and loss of identity. Finding meaningful ways to fill their days has led many to volunteerism.
Ken, who began attending the men’s breakfast series earlier this year, has become a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. He takes great pride caring for those he serves, making sure to check in on individuals when delivering their meals. At the urging of the men in the group, Ken recently renewed his passport so he can volunteer internationally.
“My wife and I volunteered in Liberia in 1979,” Ken says. “I used my skills and experiences to fix the air conditioning system at a local hospital. I’m thinking about going back to volunteer again.”
“I appreciate the support of the group,” Ken adds. “Everyone has been welcoming and kind. We truly relate to one another.”
At the end of the breakfast, the men talked about upcoming anniversaries marking the death of their loved ones.
“We will always grieve the death of our loved ones,” Brian says. “Transformation is part of the process, and we’re here for you each step of the way.”
The men’s breakfasts are held on the second Thursday of each month from 9 -10:30 a.m. at Gordon’s Family Restaurant in Harrisburg.
Homeland Hospice’s bereavement support program is available to the bereaved of Homeland’s patients as well as anyone in the community who is experiencing grief. To learn more, please contact Brian Medkeff-Rose at Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.