North Fork residents grieving the loss of loved ones will soon be able to find support and guidance through their trying time much closer to home.
East End Hospice has teamed up with Southold Town to offer residents free bereavement services at the Human Resource Center in Mattituck.
The organization, which helps people live with comfort and dignity at the ends of their lives, has offered similar services through Southold Town in the past. But this effort will mark the first time the service has been available since the COVID-19 pandemic, which claimed the lives of more than 5,600 Suffolk County residents, according to The New York Times.
East End Hospice offers specialized support at its Zinberg Family Bereavement Center in Westhampton Beach, including groups designed specifically for children and teens. However, the Mattituck program will be a general bereavement group for adults.
“A lot of the people that come have spouses and they’re feeling very isolated and live way out there [on the North Fork],” said Jean Langan Behrens, adult bereavement coordinator for EEH. “To drive all the way to Westhampton is too much … After the loss of someone, especially people who are living alone, it’s very isolating, and to have to drive an hour or however long they have to drive to get to a group and then drive home again, it’s a lot.”
The Mattituck group will meet once a week for 10 weeks. Meetings are expected to begin this fall, provided enough North Forkers learn of the program and sign up.
“We have a small staff here, and we’re very busy all the time, so I have to be sure that there are 10 people in every group that I run that are committed to the entire process,” Ms. Behrens explained. “Once they’re all registered, we’ll start it. I already have five, so I think it probably will start the end of September, early October.”
To learn more and sign up to join East End Hospice’s Southold Town bereavement support group, call Ms. Behrens at 631-288-1546, ext. 208.