Grief During the Holidays: Some Tips

The winter holidays are generally perceived as “the most wonderful time of the year.” But for those who are facing grief after the death of a loved one, the holidays may instead be a time filled with pain and sadness.

Even those for whom grief is not as fresh, the holidays may serve as an annual reminder of the loss — not only of that person but of tradition and celebration.

Bereavement professionals working in hospice and palliative care understand how difficult this season can be. They support families coping with loss all year long. Bereavement counselors stress the importance of making decisions that feel right to the grieving person and giving oneself permission to make new or different choices at the holidays.

Experts in Grief offer some tips:

Be Willing to Change Traditions.
Holidays often center on certain traditions and rituals. For some, continuing these traditions without a loved one may be an important way to continue sharing their memory. For others, it may be more comforting to develop new rituals to help lessen the pain and immediacy of the loss.

Help Reduce Stress.
While the holidays can be filled with meaning, they can also be filled with pressure and stress because of additional tasks such as shopping, baking and decorating. Grieving people should be encouraged to prioritize what needs to be done and focus on those projects that may bring them pleasure. Perhaps the gift list can be pared down, cards need not be sent out, or another family member can cook the family dinner this year.

Remember those Who Have Died.
The holidays can bring opportunities to remember the person who has died in a way that is personally meaningful. Some families choose to participate in holiday events at a local hospice. Others may choose to share special family stories over a meal. Some may find that making a donation to a special charity or volunteering time to help others in need may be a comforting way to honor their loved one.

Hospice and palliative care professionals know of the importance of providing emotional and spiritual support to those who are grieving but most importantly, they remind us that a person grieving should do what’s most comfortable for him or her during this time of year.

To learn more about grief and loss or about hospice and palliative care, contact Chaplaincy Health Care.

Chaplaincy Grief Care offers a special class during this time, Hope for the Holidays. This two-hour class meets to help grieving people deal with the stress, loneliness and confusion of the holiday season.

Chaplaincy Health Care Winter 2018 Newsletter

Our Winter Newsletter is here! Read the beautiful story Brandi Pevey shares about her family’s experience with Cork’s Place and special thank you to our Lighting the Path breakfast table hosts. With the holiday season and shopping for your loved ones, keep Chaplaincy Health Care in mind. View our wish list for needed items. Your generosity makes a difference!

Click here to read the Winter 2018 Newsletter.


It’s Never too Late to Thank a Veteran, Even at the End of Life

Americans across the country celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, a special day to salute the men and women who have bravely served our country in the military.

These fellow Americans have made profound sacrifices in defense of freedom and they deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. Honoring our nation’s Veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire lives, especially at the end.

As our nation marks Veterans Day, Chaplaincy Hospice Care deepens our commitment to increase Veterans’ access to the compassionate, high-quality care available from the nation’s hospice and palliative care providers. One of the ways we’re making this happen is through our active involvement with We Honor Veterans, an innovative program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization that we created in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There is something else that’s important for every American to do – and that is to say, “thank you” to our country’s Veterans. Not just on November 11 but all year long.

Ask your friends, neighbors, coworkers and others in your community whether they have served in the military (you may be surprised how many have)—and thank those who have served for their sacrifice.

It surprises many Americans to learn that every day, 1,800 Veterans die. That’s more than 680,000 Veterans every year – or 25 percent of all the people who die in this country annually.

If you know a Veteran who is in need of the special care hospice brings to people facing serious and life-limiting illness, please reach out and help them learn more about care options by visiting

To all our nation’s Veterans, thank you.

If you are interested in helping us honor those veterans, please contact Malia F at (509) 460-5813 or

Don’t Wait to Talk About Hospice

It’s an all too common situation. A family is at the bedside of a loved one who is seriously ill and nearing the end of life. Each member of the family has a different idea of what should be done and what the patient would have wanted.

Far too many people wait until they are in the midst of a health care crisis before thinking about what options are available or what care they or their loved ones would have wanted.

Often, by waiting too long to learn about possible options, like hospice care, people end up spending difficult days in the hospital or the emergency room and opportunities to be with loved ones at home are lost.

When a family is coping with a serious illness and a cure is no longer possible, hospice provides the type of care most people say they want at the end of life: comfort and dignity. Considered to be the model for high-quality, compassionate care for people with a life-limiting illness, hospice care includes expert medical care, pain management, and emotional and spiritual support. Care is provided by an inter-disciplinary team of professionals and trained volunteers. The wishes of the patient and family are always at the center of care.

Most hospice care is provided in the home – where the majority of Americans have said they would want to be at this time. Care is also provided in nursing homes, assisted living, adult family homes, and in-patient Hospice facilities.

Care is paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance plans.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports that more than 1.5 million people received care from our nation’s hospices last year.

Hospice providers can help with information about care options and choices and ensure you live as fully as possible throughout your entire life. They will make sure your loved ones receive support as well.

One of the best ways to make sure you and your loved ones benefit fully from hospice is to talk about it now.

For more information, contact Chaplaincy Health Care at (509) 783-7850.

Chaplaincy Health Care Fall 2018 Newsletter

Our Fall Newsletter is here! Read about Chaplaincy Health Care’s instrumental volunteers who aren’t just everyday people. Their extraordinary hearts make an immeasurable difference in the lives of people across our community each day. If you are looking for a simple way to support our work, try donating one (or some) of the items on our Wish Lists. Your generosity makes a difference!

Mark your Calendars! Chaplaincy has a lot to offer this fall with the Free Community Presentation by Dr. Ira Byock, 3rd Annual End-of-Life Conference, Lighting the Path Fundraising Breakfast and so much more.

Click here to read the Fall 2018 Newsletter.


End-of-Life Conference Registration Open

Chaplaincy Health Care’s third annual CME/CEU End-of-Life Conference is Friday, October 19, 2018, at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ira Byock, a leading palliative care physician, author, and public advocate for improving care through the end of life.

The conference is geared toward the health care community including RNs, ARNPs, MDs, and Social Workers and will provide an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the complex issues in providing palliative and end-of-life care. Topics covered include clinical and cultural leadership, the role of the inter-disciplinary team, medical cannabinoids, spiritual care, Hospice 101,  symptom management for delirium, providing the care every patient deserves and how to cultivate resilience in a culture of burnout. Brenda Swenson, Director of Hospice Outreach for Chaplaincy Hospice Care said, ‘This is a great opportunity to earn 6.5 CMEs/CEUs while hearing from some of the best and brightest in the field of end-of-life care.”

Chaplaincy's End-of-Life Conference Keynote Speaker, Dr. Ira Byock.

Dr. Ira Byock, Conference Keynote Speaker

Dr. Ira Byock’s presentation titled “The Best Care Possible” focuses on clinical and cultural leadership, tackling the crisis that surrounds serious illness and dying in America and his quest to transform care through the end of life. After his presentation, Dr. Byock will be available, with his book The Best Care Possible,  for purchase and signing.

The conference agenda also features regional experts such as:

  • Dr. Brian Lawenda, renowned Harvard-trained Radiation Oncologist, Stanford/UCLA-trained Medical Acupuncturist, Integrative Oncologist and former U.S. Navy Commander who serves as Northwest Cancer Clinic’s Medical Director speaking about medical cannabinoids.
  • Rainy Sauer holds a Masters of Divinity, is a Board Certified Chaplain and recently received her Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care from the University of Washington. She has worked with palliative care patients for the Tri-Cities Cancer Center and recently joined the Chaplaincy Palliative Care team. She will present key elements to successful communication with seriously ill patients.
  • Dr. Gregg VandeKieft is the Southwest Washington Regional Medical Director for Palliative Care for Providence St. Joseph’s Health. He is board certified in Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Care. His topic focuses on searching for wellness and he will provide some much needed tools to help cultivate resilience in midst of burnout.

These are just a few of dynamic speakers on board for the day. See the full agenda and a list of breakout session topics and speakers here.

Registration is open. The Early Bird rate for the conference is $100 before October 5, 2018. After that date, the regular registration rate is $125. There is a discount for full-time students studying in a health care related field. Online registration is available here. This conference has been approved for 6.5 continuing education credits are available for nurses, physicians and social workers. For questions or additional information, please call (509) 783-7416 or email:

Welcome New Providers

Chaplaincy Behavioral Health is expanding its services with three new providers and specialties.

Meet Our Newest Providers:

Lynn-Marie Peashka, PMHNP-BC, practices psychiatry, and has been in this field for 20 years. Originally from Richland, she is returning from Idaho after 17 years. She is a Nationally Board Certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, graduating from Washington State University’s ARNP/PMHNP programs with highest honors. She will provide psychiatric evaluations and ongoing medication management for adults and older adolescents. For physicians, please fax patient referrals to 509-460-5888. (Please include last three visit notes).

Adrian Garcia, Psy. D., is a bi-lingual, Spanish-speaking clinical psychologist who grew up in the Yakima Valley among an extended migrant farm-working family. He is a graduate of Antioch University, Seattle, and consults for the University of Washington. Among his specialties are art therapy, psychological testing, and working with children.

Albert Wilkens, LMHC., is a licensed mental health professional with years of experience working at Lourdes, primarily in their chemical dependency unit, with in-patient treatment. He specializes in minority mental health. Albert is a native of Pasco, and a graduate of the University of Washington and Heritage College. He is uniquely able to help minority patients overcome adverse childhood experiences.

Click here to learn more.

Chaplaincy Behavioral Health collaborates closely with many primary care physicians in the community providing counseling for individuals, couples, children or families who have complicated medical challenges. Our therapists are culturally sensitive and bi-lingual. We are one of the few counseling practices in the Tri-Cities that accept Medicare and Medicaid as well as other private insurance. To schedule an appointment or make a referral, please call us at (509) 783-7417.

Good Grief


In 2014, National Grief Awareness Day was founded on August 30th by Angie Cartwright. She became dedicated to educating others to the realities of bereavement and bringing support to those who grieve after she became familiar with loss herself. In the spirit of continuing the work of Ms. Cartwright, Chaplaincy Grief Care is hosting “Good Grief: Grief Relief in the Park” on August 12. 

Please join us on Sunday, August 12 at 11:00 a.m. for an outdoor celebration of the many ways that we express our grief while surrounded by the beautiful Southeastern Washington environment. This event is free to the public and appropriate for all ages. If you are coping with the loss of a loved one, a job, relationship, or other type of loss, this event is for you. There will be activities tailored to explore some less thought of ways to express grief. These activities include a movement activity, free-writing exercise, and a memory craft. Chaplaincy Grief Care staff will be on hand to discuss the day’s activities as we recognize these activities may draw out feelings that have been tucked away. Healing from a loss takes time and closure can come in many forms. We invite you to open and explore new ways to process the difficult feelings associated with loss of any kind, and look forward to seeing you on August 12!

August 12, 2018 | 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Leslie Groves Park Shelter #4
(Between Snyder and Saint Street)

Please contact Chaplaincy Grief Care at 783-7416 if you have further questions.



Chaplaincy Health Care Summer Newsletter

Our Summer Newsletter is here! Read about the many ways we impacted lives together in our 2017 Annual Report. Learn about our new Grief Care offerings and upcoming events.

Also included in this issue is a special piece recognizing 2 long-time Chaplaincy employees who have recently retired – Jannette Weber and Wes McIntyre.

Your support makes a big different and allows us to continue offering quality compassionate care to those in our community who are dealing with serious illness, end-of-life, or loss.

Click here to read the Summer Newsletter.


2017 Annual Report

BECAUSE OF YOU – In 2017, thousands of people in our community received expert guidance and care when they needed it most. Nearly 1,000 patients and their families received the care and compassion of our hospice teams; 157 children, teens and families received grief support through Cork’s Place; 1,637 people received calls, mailings, support groups, classes and one-on-one visits from our Grief Care team; 674 individuals of all ages were served through our behavioral health program; and our chaplains provided more than 29,000 hours of spiritual care. Chaplaincy Health Care doesn’t do this work alone. Thanks to our amazing group of volunteers, 11,179 hours of loving volunteer care were provided to patients, families, and friends in our community.
We are grateful for all the ways our community supports our mission. Please know that your support makes a difference each and every day. To read more about how Chaplaincy Health Care serves our community, click here for the full report.