Pat Schlunt

Navigating the Journey of Grief.

Grief is a journey – an often sorrowful process that can be both painful and healing. As Pat Schlunt learned in coping with the loss of her husband, it was the act of sharing her story which guided her through the darkness and allowed the healing to begin. Pat shares just how important the support of others – those who have also experienced this deep loss – can be.

Bob was healthy and active and we had plans for the next 30 years. His death made me feel as if I had fallen into a deep, dark, cold hole and I struggled to even breathe. What little strength I had was need to help my children. I struggled with eating and sleeping and I didn’t want to show my pain to family or friends. I felt I would find the strength to get through this alone.

But I needed to talk, I needed to vent my pain and have someone not just sympathize, but someone who understood. I sought help through my church, through a private counselor. Then someone suggested Hospice of Santa Cruz County. I had always thought Hospice was to help people as they prepared for death. But I learned they were also there to help people like me. I joined their “Young Widows Group” and I met other women who had lost their husbands. I learned that my feelings, fears, and anxieties were not abnormal but felt by others who had lost someone. These were women from a variety of back grounds but a bond formed immediately.

Hospice provided the helping hand when I was too weak to reach out – they provided a structure that helped me heal, to move ahead step by step and they changed my life and my future.