BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With funeral services being modified or in some cases postponed, officials say many people are not able to grieve as much as they might need to.
Hoffmann Hospice is used to giving people comfort in great times of grief. So they saw a need amid the pandemic and are offering the public grief counseling for free.
“Maybe their loved one was in the hospital and there was a no-visitor policy and they couldn't say goodbye or they were in a skilled nursing facility and they couldn’t say goodbye or maybe someone was in new york and couldn’t say goodbye to their mom," said Darci Nieto, Director of Marketing for Hoffmann.
There is no shortage of reasons why someone might not be able to go through the grieving process properly amid the pandemic, according to Nieto. She says Hoffmann has always had grief counselors available to those who have used their services, but now, they say the community has a much wider need.
"We have found that a lot of people have increased guilt because they couldn't say goodbye. They have heightened anxiety because of the uncertainty of the world," she said.
It’s for that reason Hoffmann is now offering group grief counseling sessions for those who feel they need it. The sessions are free and hosted by grief counselors and happen every Tuesday evening over Zoom.
“It doesn't matter if they were on Hoffmann hospice service or if they passed in a car accident. Grief is grief. So we want to help people through those times," Nieto said.
Nieto says the sessions are an hour long and max out at around 10 to 15 people in order to give everyone time to share. She says there are also Spanish-speaking sessions as well.
“We know that talking about it and sharing your feelings moves you one step closer to healing. And that’s really what we’re all trying to do is heal and move forward," she said.
The Zoom meetings take place on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. In-person groups are available by reservation as well. To get involved you’re asked to contact Hoffmann directly, their information is on their website.