Honoring the Seasons of Grief
Healing Life's Losses is committed to offering service of education, training and support to those who are grieving and to those who companion them.
Our guiding principles lay the foundation for both program development and services provided:
- Honor the significance and sacredness of the grief experience
- Affirm the individual and communal aspects of the grief journey
- Validate and normalize the naturalness of the grief experience
- Promote authentic, empathetic and compassionate presence
for the bereaved and for those who companion them, addressing a variety of grief related topics and subjects of your choosing. length can range from one hour to day long gatherings.
for the bereaved and for those who companion them, offered as overnight or day long experiences.
for those who wish to companion the bereaved individually or in a support group setting. Also designed for those who currently serve in these roles and wish to 'fine tune' their skills. Some training programs fulfill the continuing education (CE) requirements.
for those who companion the bereaved including indiviuals, program directors/coordinators, ministers, facilitators, social workers, and organizations.
written exclusively to address the needs of the bereaved
The bereaved and any individual, program or organization who companion the bereaved:
- funeral homes
- older adult living facilities
- counseling agencies
May 17-18, 2019 at Benet Retreat House - Rock Island, IL
A retreat for those grieving the death of someone in their life, months or years ago.
This day long retreat integrates the pattern of the grief experience with the rhythms and changes of the season.
A training program for supporting the bereaved.
January 26, February 23, March 23 , April 27 and July 13, 2019 8:30 am - 4:30 pm at Siena Retreat Center - Racine, WI
April 5 - 7 and May 3-5, 2019 at Nazareth Retreat Center, Grand Prairie, TX
May 14-15, 2019 at Benet Retreat House, Rock Island, IL
These are trainings for those who wish to companion the bereaved and/or are currently supporting the bereaved in various capacities. The companioning philosophy serves as the foundation in offering any modality of support to the bereaved. This model makes a distinction between other models of treating, fixing, curing, analyzing or resolving another's grief. Instead companioning is "about being totally present to the mourner and even being a temporary guardian of the person's soul." (Wolfelt)
Companions Supporting Companions (CSC) is a gathering for those who companion the bereaved to support each other personally, spiritually and in their work as companions.
Those who are invited to participate in CSC have completed the Honoring Grief...Intending to Heal Training Program.
The next CSC gathering is scheduled for Saturday, March 30 and October 26, 2019 at 9:00 am - 1:00 pm at Holy Apostles - New Berlin, WI
is the co-founder of Healing Life's Losses Grief Support Services and is a social worker with 25 years of experience in psychosocial oncology and bereavement counseling. She has companioned adults and children in individual, support group, workshop and retreat settings focusing on enhancing ones holistic well-being. Her personal experience of loss have given Melissa insight into the impact grief has on individuals, families and friends.
is the co-founder of Healing Life’s Losses grief support services and is a grief support companion and spiritual guide. He has over 30 years of pastoral ministry experience serving in faith and secular communities, retreat centers and funeral homes. Pete’s contemplative ministry is primarily one of co-creating safe spaces of sanctuary for healing, honoring, storytelling, listening, exploring, integrating and transforming. He has spent the last fifteen years dedicated to companioning those who are in life transition due to loss, as well as training others who wish to be companions of the bereaved. His background includes certification in pastoral ministry and spiritual direction. Having experienced several significant losses and his own life transitions, Pete brings with him a wealth of personal experience and wisdom, in addition to his professional and spiritual background in loss, grief and healing.
"Many people hunger for support during a time of loss. Melissa and Pete, through their compassion, professional expertise, and life experiences, are skilled at companioning others and facilitating the training that prepares others to companion the bereaved. Their workshops are like ripples of healing that spread out into the broader community."
~ Claire, DMin, Retreat Center Executive Director
"As a funeral professional I have worked closely with both Melissa and Pete. I have been amazed by their knowledge of grief and their support of the bereaved, and have witnessed the many lives they have touched."
~ Jessica, Funeral Director
"Melissa and Pete are leaders in grief and bereavement. they both have a compassionate, gentle, and kind nature along with incredible professionalism."
~ Kayla, LPC, hospice Bereavement counselor
"The grief training and seminars provided by Pete and Melissa have encouraged me personally, grown me professionally, and challenged me spiritually to be truly present to those that are grieving. Their programs have been truly life changing."
~ Mary, RN, Parish and Community Nurse