By Grace Maselli
The Tampa Bay Timebank took on the subject of grief and loss in its Third Tuesday of the Month member and guest meeting on Tuesday, October 20. Psychotherapy and hospice-trained experts from the TBT leadership team—Nancy Wolf, Christina Bellamy, and Judith Rose—guided about 25 participants in a Zoom meeting to recognize and honor the various faces of grief. The tender examination of loss and its effects included disruption to mourning by Covid-19 and people forced to be separated from loved ones infected or killed by the virus. Grief was discussed in the context of the profoundly unsettling absence through death of someone loved and the painful adaptations necessary before adjustments can be fully integrated.
Giants in the field of grief and loss were invoked: psychiatrist, humanitarian, and hospice pioneer Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her five stages of non-linear grief—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance, and leading death educator and grief counselor, Dr. Alan Wolfelt at The Center for Loss & Life Transition.
Grief can cause a broad range of symptoms both emotional and physical, TBT’s presenters reminded us—from forgetfulness and detachment to everyday life, to fatigue and chest pains.
The discussion, inclusive of a small group Zoom breakout session, extended to the significance of rituals and their power to comfort people in deep emotional pain. Even within the context of Covid, family members, friends, and neighbors can reach out, safely drop food off for grieving families, and be present to another person’s pain with attentive, compassionate listening. Rituals can demonstrate that even in active mourning, we can still be surrounded and cared for by people who remain in our lives. With presenters drawing on Dr. Wolfelt’s work, we understand this can arguably happen (even now using masks and social distancing) through “companioning” with a person who has experienced a loss, being present to another person’s pain—going into the deep wilderness of the soul with another human being—and honoring the spirit, not the intellect.
Grief and its stages, our TBT experts offered, are ultimately a natural and adaptive response to deep loss. The experience is singular and personal and does not follow a prescribed path to reach a given level of adaptation.
The presenters also shared community resources. Following is a partial list of Tampa Bay Area organizations available to assist individuals and families:
- The Life Center of The Suncoast Inc.
6811 N Central Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
- Compassionate Friends
6938 Riverview Dr, Riverview, FL 33578
- Unity North Tampa [First Sunday of the month, 12:30-2:30; donations accepted]
19520 Holly Ln, Lutz, FL 33558
- Soaring Spirits International, Tampa Bay Widowed Persons Group
By Grace Maselli
Timebankers helping people. That’s what it’s all about. Spring Hill FL Timebank member Gary Schineller cares about community. Founder and CEO of the nonprofit Hello, from My Heart, Gary’s mission is “To measurably create happier, healthier, & more peaceful communities,” which includes Gary’s healing energy work; a sampling of the modalities he uses includes Reiki, kinesiology, transactional analysis, and meditation.
I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to you for the help you’ve given me this year—energetically, advice-wise, time-wise, and through your book! It’s all been very helpful. You are a very kind soul. It was very cool how I met you because of the energy work I was eager to do! What a neat way that things worked out, although I’m not sure if I will pursue energy work in the same form—I definitely benefited a lot from your ‘energy’ and high vibe.
I am so glad to find like-minded people. Feeling not alone at times when my body won’t do what I want it to do has made all the difference. I’ve been able to get back to the kind of thinking that I learned before some (previous) relationship trauma. Also, some memory is coming back after 14 years of very little sleep nightly. (My pattern was often two to three hours, split up, with no *REM recovery.)Now I’m a living miracle! On average I’m up to about five to six hours a night of sleep. Some nights I still revert to the old pattern, but more rarely now. My life is very magical and I feel blessed. I just want you to know that your help is not lost on me.
I do still feel like my brain is damaged from the many years of no sleep. There are chunks of memories I sometimes ‘receive’ now. I want to feel it’s possible to recover anything, such as full use of my brain. And that’s when I reach for your book! So, anyway, I just wanted to say hello and a BIG thank you!
With love and much appreciation,
To learn more about Hello, from My Heart, visit Gary’s registration page here and find out how you too can get involved! Also check out our Florida Timebanks site for the nuts and bolts of connection to your community peeps through timebanking .
|* Rapid Eye Movement|