As the calendar turns to a New Year, support groups for those grieving the death of a loved one are an available and important resource across our region.
Velma Knox knew she needed support after Labor Day of 2018.
"I felt I needed help with the grieving, because I lost my husband of 62 years."
She still has difficult moments, like when she picked up Gerry's old Bible during the holidays last month.
"Two envelopes fell out - I asked what are these? they were two valentines I gave him."
Thanks to Velma's grief support group through Northern Illinois Hospice, she and others like her continue on their path toward healing.
"Find out a little bit about who their loved one was and still is," says Northern Illinois Hospice bereavement coordinator Andrew Vitale. "Stories keep the memories alive. Stories help us heal."
In Oregon, this type of group isn't just for adults. Serenity Hospice and Home provides a safe space for local youth.
"Many of them haven't attended funerals," says Serenity's bereavement coordinator Cathy Warren. "They don't have that connection. They can come to our group and share with other kids who have experienced something similar."
An hour north, Beloit Regional Hospice hosts grief support for everyone, of all ages. When you walk the halls, memorial quilts greet you, with every square telling a story.
"All the emotions you go through are normal and natural," says grief program coordinator Nicole Morgan. "When people know that, they aren't so hard on themselves. You can keep going through this journey."
Grief touches everyone and some need that extra step to move forward.
"I thought I didn't need it at first," says Velma Knox. "Once I got there, I realized, boy did I ever need it."