An Indiana family that recently reached out to State of the Heart Hospice for grief support has made a donation of musical drums to the agency in memory of their son. The family, from Muncie and from Ridgeville, made the donation at the Portland office of State of the Heart. The drums were used in one of their grief support sessions and will be used at the agency’s Camp BEARable for grieving children this summer.
Don Cochran, his wife the Reverend Susan Deverall, of Ridgeville, and his former wife Gail Eiler of Muncie recently completed six weeks of attending Growing Through Grief sessions conducted in Portland by State of the Heart Bereavement Specialist Marlene Black and Amy Pearson, Music Therapist for State of the Heart. The office is at 1237 W. Ind. 67.
Last year, just before Thanksgiving Blake Cochran, an only child, died in Ridgeville at the age of 33. The gift of the drums to State of the Heart seemed like a “natural” thing to do as Blake enjoyed music so much, his father explained. Deverall added, “Including music therapy in the grief support sessions was helpful as it allowed emotions to come to the surface and encouraged us not to hold our emotions back. We all realized that music was an important part of Blake’s life.” Music therapy is frequently used in grief support.
State of the Heart Hospice, with offices in Portland, Greenville and Coldwater, cares for patients and families who are confronting a life limiting illness. Bereavement support is an important part of the care provided families and is available to anyone who needs help dealing with grief. Blake was not cared for by the State of the Heart.
“I was so surprised that we could get bereavement support from State of the Heart since their staff did not care for Blake,” said Cochran. “And, I was more than surprised to find that this important assistance was at no cost to us. I still find it hard to believe.”
He added, “We all knew that grief support was available somewhere and we knew we all needed it.” Deverall said she found the support she, Cochran and Eiler needed by going to the internet and finding about the grief support provided by State of the Heart and learning of the services from brochures.
“I can’t imagine working through our grief on our own,” Cochran said. Black explained that while the three people sought grief support somewhat soon in their loss, it worked for them. “Grieving people know what they need, and in this case, these people realized they needed help and reached out to us.”
The three said they found “hope,” “solace” and “gentle understanding” in the group sessions. Eiler said, “It was good that just the three of us were here as we were all talking and focusing on Blake.”
Black explained that the family group sessions reflect the flexibility in grief support. “We can tailor the grief support for the needs of those who are grieving.” Grief support is available in larger group settings, or one-on-one interaction.
During their session they shared memories of Blake. “He was a gift to us,” his father said, “My life would have been boring without him in it.” His mother added, “He taught me so much and gave so much of himself.”
The gift of the drums was a pleasant surprise to both Black and Pearson. Cochran, who has been part of drum groups and made and acquired drums, plans to donate more of the instruments to State of the Heart. The drums will be used at Camp BEARable July 13-15 at the Spiritual Center of Maria Stein. Any child, six through 15, can attend the weekend camp which is free. They do not have to have any association with hospice care.
The family plans to continue their grief support sessions with State of the Heart on a monthly basis. “This is definitely helpful as it offers us hope that there is a way to get through our grief,” Cochran said.
For more information about grief support provided by State of the Heart Hospice, call Black at 800-417-7535. Visit the agency web site at www.stateoftheheartcare.org
Pictured with the drums, are, left to right: Amy Pearson and Marlene Black of State of the Heart Hospice, Don Cochran, Gail Eiler and Susan Deverall.