Hospice Chaplain Hopes to Prepare Communities to Handle Grief

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Over the last 8 months, our community has seen more than it's fair share of tragedy. The death of Constable Brian Bachmann in August and two Bryan firefighters killed in February ways heavily on our minds.

Communities, just like individuals, handle grief in different ways. I sat down with a local Hospice minister who wants people to know there's hope.

"People feel stuck, sometimes, in grief," explains Gary Roe. Listening to him talk about grief, you'd think it was his job. Turns out, it is. Roe has been with Hospice Care about three and a half years.

In that time, he's seen his share of sorrow, grief and personal sadness.

But when traumatizing events, like the death of Constable Brian Bachmann in August, or firefighters Greg Pickard and Eric Wallace in February, hit our community... Roe believes that some may try to bury the grief.

"It doesn't really stay buried, however, it still comes out in many ways," says Roe.

"And then, another tragedy occurs and here we are again, you know, and we haven't dealt with the first one and over time it becomes cumulative," he continued.

It's a discussion that Roe thinks should happen more often. So he's starting the conversation -- at a funeral home.

"Let's take a step of faith," laughs Roe.

"Let's dismiss the fact that uh this is a scary place. It can be a very inviting place. A place of comfort," he adds.

It's hard, sometimes, to escape the news of tragedy striking another community. Harder, even, to talk about those events.

"You know, we register in our hearts and souls, grief no matter what loss we endure," says Roe. He hopes his conversation on grief can help people deal with their emotions now and prepare them for the next tragedy.

"You never want it to happen. Now that it has happened, one of the good things that can come out of it is the recognition that, you know, life is a battle. Do we dare expect it to be smooth? We would like for it to be smooth, but it never is," he added.

Gary Roe's seminar -- Good Grief: How to handle tragedy and make a real difference -- is Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Hillier Funeral home in Bryan. Its free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served and Roe will be available after the discussion for more questions.