Bobbie Bihn supports grieving community members
Bobbie Bihn has been volunteering at Hospice of Santa Cruz County for 28 years. “That tells you something about the organization – not every organization keeps its volunteers for that long.”
“Bobbie’s interest in hospice began when she attended the Death and Dying class at Cabrillo College. Bobbie was drawn in when one of her classmates told the story of how her grandmother died at home with the support of hospice. She had never heard of hospice before, but felt the need to learn more. So in 1980, when Hospice of Santa Cruz County was just two years old, Bobbie signed up as a volunteer and began answering the phones. “People would call and it was an honor to help them,” Bobbie remembers. Four years later, she attended the first grief support training offered by Hospice and found her niche.
Bobbie facilitates a weekly drop-in grief support group which is open to anyone in our community who has experience the loss of a loved one. “As a facilitator of the group, the most important thing I do is give participants space. It’s always fascinating to me how people interact with each other. There’s a thread that runs through each of us – a common bond that has brought people together. I don’t try to make them feel better – I can’t. I can only create the space where they can share their grief and know that others understand.” Bobbie says.
Many come reluctantly, Bobbie shares. “But, at the end of the session, they see they are with others who understand, and I invite them to join one of the upcoming 8-week groups. Almost all of them join a group. And, the healing begins.”
Bobbie feels privileged to be a part of their journey and acknowledges how much her volunteering has enriched her own life. “I am always happy to go… each week….I always look forward to it.”