LifeNet Health and Healing the Spirit are registered trademarks of LifeNet Health, Inc.

SPRING  2016

In This Issue of DFQ 
It was wonderful seeing so many of you at the In Celebration & Remembrance ceremonies held in April throughout Virginia.
Our theme this year was Remember. With over 660 people in attendance, it is clear there is a need to come together to share memories and stories of loved ones.
Many of you picked up the quilt square packets. We look forward to being able to add more memories and stories to the walls in our offices.
We will continue to offer Creative Expressions of Grief workshops to help you remember and honor your loved one. The next workshop willl be held on Saturday, August 20th at the Concert Drive campus in Virginia Beach. More information will be posted on our website www.healingthespirit.org.
As Edwin Way Teale said, "The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May." My hope for you is that as you remember and share your loved one's story, you will start to feel this way. Donor Family Services is here to support you. If there is anything we can help you with, please reach out and let us know!
In peace and hope,

Debbie Hutt
Director, Donor Family Service
LifeNet Health's Donor Family Services staff is here to support you.

Healing the Spirit Highlight - Hope's Heroes
by Michael Reilly, MA

Donor family members often request assistance in communicating the benefits of organ, eye and tissue donation to young children.
In order to enhance the family's understanding and to further honor the donation, an unprecedented collaboration between two organ procurement organizations was born. This partnership resulted in a website feature called Hope's Heroes, made possible by a grant from the LifeNet Health Foundation.
New England Organ Bank created the Hope's Heroes storybooks, while LifeNet Health developed an animated online experience to enhance our donor families' website Healing the Spirit.
In the story, Hope is being driven by her father to pick up her grandmother from the hospital where she received a tissue transplant. Hope's father talks about the heroes who donated their tissue when they died to help restore her and other peoples' lives.
The animation uses interactive click here tags that display information about organ and tissue donation. The characters drive by local people like fireman John, construction worker Maria and others, who Grandma explains, have been helped by tissue donation. There are objects that children can click for animation and sound effects.
Hope's Heroes requires Internet Explorer version 9 or higher, Safari (Macintosh) or Google Chrome.
Click here to experience Hope's Heroes: http://hopesheroes.org

HealingTearsHealing Tears by Dr. Lani Leary
The following question for Dr. Lani was asked through our website and looks at grief and loss from a different perspective.
Dear Dr. Lani,
My 86-year-old mom passed out last week when I was visiting her. She insisted she was OK, but I got her to the emergency room. She was admitted to the hospital.

I am traumatized by seeing my strong mom on the floor, vulnerable and old. I know everyone's time will come, but after this I'm anxious and unable to think about it. Can you help me sort what happened and how to handle it going forward?- An anxious daughter
Dear Anxious,
It sounds like you feel "side-swiped" and deeply troubled by an unexpected health crisis. The up-side is that you responded responsibly and appropriately by insisting your mother go to the ER so she could be evaluated. Another positive outcome to this trauma is that you are aware that you need time, skills, and preparation to adjust to the inevitable death of your aging mother.

Your anxiety is part of "anticipatory grief", or the normal grief that is felt before the death of a loved one. When anticipatory grief is identified it is useful to begin to reflect, rehearse, and understand the potential loss, and learn how to address the needs that arise because of it.

You are asking for resources that will help you to work through your anticipatory loss feelings, and identify needs to which you can respond, rather be reactive in a crisis. No-cost resources might include books, articles, websites, movies, and educational presentations addressing death, dying, aging and grief.

There are many excellent books on the subject of grief, and many available YouTube presentations. A short, daily reference book I often recommend is Healing After Loss by Martha Whitmore Hickman. A more in-depth "workbook" approach is in How to Survive the Loss of a Parent: A Guide for Adults by Lois Akner. She uses exercises and "homework" assignments to help the reader discuss, question, and understand their grief. How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies by Dr. Therese Rando is a classic in the field of death and grief.

Your local Department on Aging might have lectures by local medical professionals and mental health experts to help you with your questions and anxiety. Grief support groups can be helpful to those going through bereavement, and local hospice support groups can be beneficial to help you learn coping skills, and learn different perspectives from others who have "gone before" you in losing a parent.

At a cost, the most personal and in-depth reflection of what happened to you, and how you made meaning of it, will most likely come through personal psychotherapy with a trained professional, specializing in grief and trauma. If possible, the investment would be worth it to build your resiliency before the loss of your mother, but also provide lifelong skills, attitudes and perspective for the inevitable additional losses of other relationships and changes.

I hope these suggestions will be helpful, and encourage you to begin the long, important journey through grief that we all must travel. You are not alone, and there are many who have lived through their grief and thrived again.

Dr. Leary is a psychologist and certified grief therapist who consults with LifeNet Health. Her responses reflect her professional opinion to general questions. Individuals struggling with complicated grief are encouraged to seek the care of a professional. Please submit your questions to Debbie Hutt, LifeNet Health, 1864 Concert Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23453, or visit Healing Tears at www.healingthespirit.org 
treeoflifeCreating Lasting Memories in Florida

Laughter, tears, shared memories and a keepsake to cherish were all part of the Creative Expressions of Grief workshop hosted recently in Pensacola by LifeNet Health Florida.

Donor family members gathered to make shadow boxes in memory of their loved ones, and along the way ended up making new friends. They shared their photos, mementos and special items, and placed them in their shadow boxes, which were supplied by LifeNet Health.

"These are my favorite workshops to facilitate," said Louanne White, Manager of Operations at LifeNet Health Florida. "The families who attend find it to be a comfortable, safe place to come and create a keepsake, share memories and talk to other families who have endured a similar loss."

Happenings in the Northwest
by Noreen Sutton, Donor Family Advocate
Here in Seattle, the sun and spring have finally arrived! It's so beautiful to see all the vibrant colors and flowers in bloom, signaling the renewal of life.
Throughout National Donate Life Month in April, our team was busy out-and-about at local hospitals, encouraging Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors, and celebrating those who have saved lives and restored health through the gift of donation.
Belinda Jensen, Hospital and Community Relations Specialist at Valley Medical Center in Renton, WA, raises awareness of the gift of donation during National Donate Health Month.
Part of my duties as a donor family advocate is to really get to know our donor families. I have had the privilege of meeting some wonderful families and listening to their stories about their loved ones. It's been such an honor to get to know each of you, and I hope to meet many more donor families!

Please mark your calendars for our upcoming events:

In Celebration and Remembrance Celebrations in the NW

Western WA - Sunday, August 28th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Federal Way Community Center in Seattle


Eastern WA - Saturday, September 10th from 1 p.m. to

3 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center



Billings, Montana - Saturday, September 24th from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. Look for your invitation in the mail. 

To the families who sent in pictures and tributes for our 2015 commemorative book, we will mail your book to you in July. If your address has changed, please call Noreen Sutton at 425- 981-8918 or email noreen_sutton@lifenethealth.org with your updated information.

Visit our website for more grief and loss support.