Grief expert offers comfort, practical tips

By Charlene Bearden
JACKSON – Through a partnership between Catholic Charities’ Parish Health Ministry and the Catholic Diocese of Jackson’s Office of Family Ministry, Bob Willis, artist, author, sculptor and grief specialist from Oklahoma presented a series of half-day workshops and discussions on grief, and how to adapt to loss. The program was a Diocesan event that was also supported by St. Dominic Hospital.
The workshops were presented November 28 – 30, 2018 at Hernando Holy Spirit Parish, Indianola Immaculate Conception Parish, Starkville St. Joseph Parish Gluckstadt St. Joseph Parish.

HERNANDO – Bob Willis, at right, scuplts a broken heart during a grief workshop at Holy Spirit Parish. (photo by Charlene Bearden)

Sister Pat Clemen, Coordinator of Parish Health Ministry at Catholic Charities, and Charlene Bearden, Coordinator of the Office of Family Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson, planned and organized the workshops for anyone experiencing loss of any kind, including the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, pet, security, trust, dreams, hopes loss of good health or any grief they were experiencing. Also, three Continuing Education (CE) contact hours were earned by nurses and social workers who attended. In addition, organizers hoped the opportunity would inspire people to receive proper training to help start a grief support group.
Sister Clemen and Bearden agreed, Bob Willis “provided information and tools to help individuals to mourn, or to express the pain of loss” in a healthy manner. Participants offered very positive comments. Their names are withheld out of respect for their privacy.
“As a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s support group and at Baptist DeSoto Hospital, I can use the information/tools presented. Also, in my own grief, said one attendee at Holy Spirit who didn’t want to leave her name.
“I felt that everything he said was spoken only to me and my feelings. Thank you so much for presenting such a heartwarming talk. May God bless you,” added an Immaculate Conception attendee.
Someone from Starkville offered this reflection: “Powerful and amazing presentation. I’m blessed to be here!”
“A really wonderful presentation—not only because of really helpful information and tools, but because of the love it was with,” stated one of the people who came to Gluckstadt.
As he sculpts a broken heart in clay, Bob shares information on grief, loss, and caregiving. He relates the grief process to faith and invites people to reconnect with the suffering Jesus.

(Charlene Bearden is the Coordinatorfor the Office of Family Ministry)