This winter in Whitman County has seen more colder temperatures, deeper snow, and record-breaking icicles than we have experienced in a while. While living in a part of the country that experiences four distinct seasons is usual for us, this deeper, prolonged cold has prompted some people to ask, “How long will this winter last?”

I have heard grief compared to winter: frozen feelings, numbness, darker days and longer nights. Surely, some have asked the same question about their sorrow: “How long will this grief last?” Just as even the best weatherman cannot predict accurately how long winter will last, or when the next snowstorm will arrive, we cannot know for certain when our grief will subside.

How inconvenient that there is no “recipe” to follow through grief! If it could only be as simple as: Do this, then do that, and you will feel better/normal/happy. Each person’s grief is unique to them. It is as personal, and deep, and complicated as the relationship with the loved one who has died. There is no road map. There is no right way for everyone. Each person will find strength in different ways, and heal at different rates. It is not uncommon to see people 5, 10, or even 20 or 30 years after a death still working through their grief.

Friends of Hospice offers Grief Support groups in Pullman and Colfax throughout the year. We are currently offering once a month, drop-in support groups in each town. These groups are offered free of charge, with no pre-registration necessary. In Colfax, the group is on the second Friday of each month. It is held in room 309 at Hill Ray Plaza, 801 Vista Point Drive, from 12:30 – 2:00 pm. Pullman’s group meets on the third Friday of each month, 12:30 – 2:00 pm, in the 3rd floor library at Bishop Place apartments, 811 SE Klemgard Street. Our next 8-week support group will be held in Pullman, April 4 – May 23, 2017. Sessions will be on Tuesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, at Regency Pullman, in the upstairs library. Pre-registration is requested for this group.

No, the winter will not last forever. And neither will grief. It will not always feel like it does now. It will grow and change with you. Hold on. And, if you need help, drop in any 2nd or 3rd Friday.

In closing, I’d like to share this poem which gives me hope. May it give you hope, too. In the changing of the seasons and in the healing of your broken heart.

Angel Thoughts
If you give up when it’s deep winter,
you’ll surely miss the promise of your Spring,
the beauty of your Summer
and the fulfillment of your Fall.

Don’t let the pains of one season
overshadow the joys of the rest of the year.

Try not to judge life
by one difficult season;
cherish instead
the exceptional seasons
given you in love.

~Sec. Cerge Remonde, PMS