Caption: Standing left to right are Ivy Garcia, Director of Latino Services, For All Seasons; Alberto Ardaya, Interpreting Services Supervisor, For All Seasons; and Lindy Barton, Talbot Hospice Bereavement Coordinator. Participant Nancy Marquez and Janine Puma-Martinez, Interpreter, For All Seasons, are seated left to right.
For All Seasons and Talbot Hospice have partnered to offer the first Latino Bereavement Group. The group, an outgrowth of the Latina Support Group, was formed when members of the group shared that there was a need in the Latino community for grief support for several people who had experienced the loss of a loved one.
“We reached out to Talbot Hospice to see what we could offer and decided that the pilot program, which began November 2, would be done through Zoom since a number of those needing grief support lived in other counties on the Mid-Shore,” states Ivy Garcia, Director of Latino Services at For All Seasons.
Four individuals attended the weekly sessions – two women from Cambridge and two women from Caroline County. Sessions were led by Lindy Barton, Talbot Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, and Janine Puma-Martinez, For All Seasons Interpreter, and lasted seven weeks.
“This has been our first Latino Bereavement Group in the community. This has been a very good experience doing Zoom work with the interpreter, so we plan to continue this format because it is convenient for those who don’t live locally and who may experience transportation challenges,” commented Barton.
“The group did a lot of work in a short time. They found it a safe space to share. Faith was a very strong component for the group in dealing with their emotions and feelings.”
For All Seasons and Hospice plan to continue the collaboration in February, offering sessions for men and women, and expanding the times to make the classes convenient for those working during the day. Participants do not have to be clients of For All Seasons.
One participant shared, “I feel this peace inside of me now. I am content and feel as if my son has never left me. I am thankful to all the staff at For All Seasons. When we are all together in class, it helps me day to day.”
Another participant added, “I have never been in a group like this. We touched on a lot of things – it helped to give me strength and resilience.”
The bereavement class ended with an in-person art and craft project to help reinforce the coping mechanisms the group had learned. Participants made framed shadow boxes or ornaments with pictures of the loved ones they lost. Pieces of prayer shawls with a supportive saying were also shared to help participants cope once leaving the group.
Barton shared with participants on the last night, “Tears are okay. You can borrow them this season to get through the rough spots.”
“We were made aware by support group members that many community members who lose a family member don’t always process the death. This group has helped these four women tremendously. We will continue to meet with them after the support group ends,” added Garcia.
For All Seasons Latina Support Group begins meeting on January 2 at 10 a.m. and January 3 at 10 a.m. with the option for a Zoom Support Group on Mondays at 1 p.m. For further information about these support groups or the upcoming Bereavement Group scheduled to begin in February, contact Ivy Garcia at 410-822-1018 or email@example.com.
For All Seasons is your community behavioral health and rape crisis center offering therapy, psychiatry, advocacy, and education to individuals and families, regardless of one’s ability to pay. For further information, visit www.forallseasonsinc.org.