by Vickie Watson, Community Relations Specialist

My mind often turns to those with hurting hearts, mostly because my own heart aches often. Even though I did not lose a spouse to death, I lost a spouse to the dreadful plague known as divorce. Please understand, I am in no way equating my loss to the loss of a cherished loved one who is separated from this world by the portals of Heaven. All the same, it is a loss, and it causes my heart to grieve as holidays approach. The impending holiday this week happens to be the “holiday of love.”

Even though I have been divorced for many years, my heart still aches for the companionship that comes with the holidays. And, as I have written many times now, that thought produced another thought, which always seems to land on the families we serve. How do we approach these holidays? Each one can cause an ache that produces audible groaning often only heard and translated by the Holy Spirit. So, with that thought, I wanted to search out some resources – some suggestions – for those of us who need to have hopeful hearts.

As a result, I happened upon a wonderful resource which is used and referenced often by Stacey Johnson, HMC – SC’s Bereavement Director. The Dougy Center is the National Center for Grieving Children & Families. and believe it or not, they have a podcast entitled “Grieving through Valentine’s Day” ( Dougy Center staff, Brendon Connelly and Jana DeCristofaro, talk about strategies for approaching “Valentine’s Day in a way that opens up space to express love and appreciation.” One of their suggestions for dealing with this particular holiday is to connect with others you find to be supportive. and one example was to get together for dinner. Well, what a coincidence! Hospice of Marshall County – Shepherd’s Cove is hosting a “Hopeful Hearts Dinner” on Thursday, February 11th at 5:30 p.m. The evening is designed to offer encouragement and support for those who are living with a loss. There will be a delicious meal (prepared by our regionally famous kitchen staff), and will include an inspirational speaker. But more than any of that, there will be fellowship with those who understand what it means to approach a holiday after a loss – one grieving heart to another. How about that? What could be more meaningful than that entire mixture – food, encouragement and fellowship?

If you are interested in attending this event, please give us a call 256-891-7724. We would be privileged to walk with you though this “holiday of love” and create an atmosphere for hopeful hearts.