By Catherine Owens, Director of the Center for Hope & Healing

By its nature, the grief journey is a transition: an event that asks you to change from who you were before to who you are after a loss and then to who you will be tomorrow.

It can be particularly unnerving that when grieving people look inside themselves for the strength, the persistence and the courage of their earlier self—they may not find the “me” they have known. It speaks to why C.S. Lewis, in his writings on grief following the death of his wife, wrote, “no one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.”

Fear as a part of grief makes sense to counselors, social workers, and chaplains at HopeWest. Why wouldn’t fear emerge when you can’t find the once familiar you? And now, you are faced with the challenge of living as the person you’ve become after a loss who looks different than the person who was there before.

Our support is aligned to help you navigate both fear and grief as you experience new ways of feeling, thinking, and acting in the world.

In our grief groups and counseling sessions, you’ll find we may need to spend time working through painful emotions, but we also look at the ways you shift, change, and even grow, as you engage in your unique journey.

As we approach the fall season, I’d like to extend an invitation: consider that time matters when trying to get to know, accept, and value this new, changed you. There is a good possibility that there will be grief in understanding that you are not the same following your loved one’s death.

Fall, as the transition from warmth to cold, can act as “permission” to take extra good care of yourself, to nest inside your home a bit more, to rest and reflect as you come to know more of who you are now.

If you’re experiencing grief, consider Mending Heart Greif Support Group. Mending Hearts focuses on adults who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This is an “open” group where one can attend without a multi-week commitment. Each group explores the physical, emotional, social, cognitive and spiritual aspects of life within grief. Our professional counselors and bereavement volunteers create a safe, confidential environment.

For more details about Mending Hearts or support near you visit