By Jean Collins-Stuckert, MSW, LISAC, CSAT
Director of Workshops for The Meadows
When I returned to The Meadows as Director of Workshops in 2012 Doug Dodge was facilitating the Grief Workshop. He had always facilitated that workshop and was extraordinary in the position. Doug was weathered; he had been doing grief work for more years than most of us have been alive. He was full of compassion, candid, and gave a great hug (although you may smell like cologne for the rest of the day). I knew this first hand because he had facilitated a grief workshop for me when my sister died suddenly and tragically that helped to mend my shattered heart and made a lasting impression.
Doug died last year leaving us grieving. We cancelled the workshop for a period, unable to imagine anyone else taking Doug’s place. Eventually, the demand increased because grief is universal. There are all sorts of losses and layers of grief. It can accumulate outweighing our coping skills and leave us feeling broken. So, we developed a new grief and loss workshop called “Healing Heartache” with an eclectic approach. It’s not Doug’s workshop, but I believe he would approve (I attempted to channel him when developing the workshop). It’s a blend of psycho-education, narrative, psychodrama, experiential work, nervous system regulation, art, music, ritual and heart. With the curriculum developed, all I needed was a facilitator who was a good fit.
I facilitated the Grief and Loss Workshop myself until Janie Exner joined the workshop team. Janie was the real deal, and I knew she would enrich that workshop. Janie is seasoned, genuine, warm, disarming, empathic and highly skilled. She has experienced profound loss in her life allowing her to be fully present when someone else is in agonizing pain. She embraced the idea and commenced training. I passed the torch; it was seamless. Janie doesn’t attempt to fill Doug’s shoes—she has found a pair all her own.
Our next Healing Heartache: a Grief and Loss Workshop is scheduled for March 30, 2015. You can register by calling our Workshops Coordinator at 800-244-4949.