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A supporting, safe place for those who grieve

One of my volunteer “jobs” is serving as an advocate for the Archuleta County Coroner’s Office.

The road to how I got there is a natural transition of serving 10 years in EMS with Broomfield Ambulance, another two with Federal Heights Fire Department and another couple of years with the City of Sheridan Fire Department.

Sheridan Fire Department required cross training as a firefighter — not my cup of tea. Nope, I’ll wait outside, you bring the victim to me, thank you very much. Training was hysterical, but that’s another story, or just ask my husband or daughter, they’ll tell you, if they can stop laughing long enough to do so.

Throughout the years, my crew responded to many calls, some life threatening, some not, and on other calls we were too late. Did I ever find myself looking at a call as just another call? No. Each one had its own significance, no matter how small of an issue in my eyes. As a caregiver, I wanted the outcome to be a good one each and every time, but it doesn’t always work that way. Death calls were the hardest.

In 1995, I had the opportunity to train as a victim advocate for the City of Sheridan, through the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department. My first call during training — a death call. Little did I know where this training would take me over the years. In 2001, I continued my service as a victim advocate right here in our own backyard with Archuleta County Victim’s Assistance (ACVAP). Five years later, I transitioned to serving on the board of directors, where I now serve as vice-president.

In Archuleta County, death calls needing advocacy are handled by the coroner’s office. Our coroner, Carl Macht, is phenomenal. He is generally able to handle all needs at the time of a call; however, there are times when extra support is needed. That’s where our advocates come in. We provide support to loved ones, friends, neighbors, whoever may be present until a stronger, familiar support system is available. I do my best to comfort, make phone calls, provide information, answer questions and assist Carl, as needed.

The care we provide for someone who has just experienced the loss of a loved one is limited. I carry on with my day, thinking of the family/friends I have just served and hope they will soon have fond memories to help them carry on. Death of a loved one is a loss that most certainly will take time to grieve; there is no set time of how long it may take. Some people may feel they grieved long enough, get on with it, but that’s not the case; a loss is different to everyone. Yes, some do transition out of the grieving period sooner than others; there are no rules to grieving. You may experience sadness, anger, depression, guilt or other normal feelings; it varies from moment to moment, day to day, and so on.

Losing a pet is difficult as well. In many instances our pets are our only family, losing a pet may leave a large void in our lives.

Death is traumatic, regardless of the type of a loved one, and grieving is normal. If you have experienced a loss, I invite you to join our Grief Education Support Group for four consecutive weeks on Wednesdays, April 18-May 9 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Many people who are experiencing the loss of a loved one find having a supportive, safe place to be compassionately heard and to talk about their loss is helpful. The four weeks will include grief education, ways of coping with grief and a local community resource list that may be helpful to individuals who are working through loss. This grief support is open to all community members experiencing a loss due to death. Please call 264-2167 to register.

Special events

“Carrier” (episodes 5 and 6). Monday April 16 at 1 p.m. Filmed during a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of ground troops, this in-depth documentary takes an insider’s tour of the?U.S.S. Nimitz, one of America’s most storied aircraft carriers. Strong language. Even if you can’t make it to see all the episodes, it’s all very interesting and enlightening.

Episodes 7 and 8, Monday, April 23, at 1 p.m.

Final episodes, 9 and 10, Monday, April 30, at 1 p.m.

Audubon Society. Monday, April 16, 12:30 p.m. Ever wonder what type of bird that is out your window and why you only see it certain times of the year? Birding offers a chance to enjoy your own yard, getting active in habitat conservations, or anything in between. See the Canada geese nesting on the wetlands pond behind the community center, as we speak. Join like-minded people at the Weminuche Audubon meeting Wednesday night and go on field trips with them. Help with fall elementary school education programs at the Hershey Ranch. Birds are everywhere you go. Enjoy them, learn about them, help them.

Vitamins and supplements. A presentation by Dr. Kurz, Wednesday, April 18, at 12:30.?

Library

Come on in to The Den and check out our library. We have quite the collection of books, including some large print, as well as books on tape/CD, videos, DVDs and audio tapes for you to borrow.

At your service

Not driving anymore? Car in the shop? Get to where you need to go; door to door bus service available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to seniors age 60-plus. Suggested donation is $2 per day. Come hang out with us and enjoy our company. What are you waiting for? Call for details, 264-2167.

Delivered to your door

Are you struggling to get meals prepared because you are homebound, recovering from surgery or an illness? Let us do the cooking. Enjoy Senior Center meals delivered to your door. Our hot meal home delivered program is available to those living closer to town four days per week, with frozen meals on Thursdays and weekends. Those living further out of town may be eligible for the frozen meal program. Meals are available to people age 60-plus for a suggested donation of $3 per meal. Give us a call at 264-2167 for further information. Donations are greatly appreciated.?

Weekly activities

Friday, April 13 — 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

Monday, April 16 — 12:30 p.m. Audubon Society; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Canasta; 1 p.m. “Carrier.”

Tuesday, April 17 — 11 a.m. Alzheimer’s Support Group; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing.

Wednesday, April 18 — 12:30 p.m. Dr. Kurz: Vitamins and Supplements; 1 p.m. Grief Education Support Group.

Thursday, April 19 — Closed.

Friday, April 20 — 10 a.m. Stitchin’ in the Kitchen; 12:30 p.m. Gym Walk.

This week’s menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3 guests $6, kids 12 and under $3.00. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act via the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other donations and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $11.51. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served from noon to 12:30 p.m.

Friday, April 13 — Spinach lasagna, tossed salad with sunflower seeds, green beans, apricots, wheat roll.

Monday, April 16 — Porcupine meatballs, mashed potatoes, almond peaches, peas and carrots, whole wheat bread, tossed salad.

Tuesday, April 17 — Baked chicken, black eyed peas, salad, orange beets, orange wedge, whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, April 18 — Senior Choice: Beef liver and onions, garlic and herb mashed potatoes, peas, whole wheat roll, vanilla ice cream with blueberries.

Thursday, April 19 — Closed for administrative day.

Friday, April 20?— Tuna salad wrap, tomato soup, whole grain tortilla, lettuce and tomato, hard boiled egg, ambrosia fruit salad.

Arboles senior meals

Lunches are served in Arboles on the first and third Thursdays of each month, weather permitting, in the basement of the Catholic Church. Reservations are required the Monday preceding. The suggested donation is $3 for age 60-plus. Call 264-2167 for more information or to make a reservation.

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