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Southwest Michigan group creates "memory stones" to remember loved ones

SAINT JOSEPH, Mich.-I lost my daughter in a car accident five years ago. She was always known for her smile, her laugh and she was a beautiful young lady,” said Barb Schofield.

Coping with the loss of a loved one may be one of the hardest challenges a person can face. When it happens, venturing through the grieving process can be daunting, especially if it’s unexpected

“I had just talked to her that morning,” Schofield said.

Barb decided to share her grief with others, a support group.

Then she came across a special class that one local organization was hosting.

Caring Circle in Saint Joe, Michigan is a community-based palliative care and hospice organization that also offers grief and bereavement counseling.

Once a year, a group gathers to celebrate their loved ones.

“About 4 years ago we did our first memory stones group and It was really just an opportunity to kind of beautify our memory garden that we have outside ,” said Jaime Hoover, a Bereavement Care Coordinator for Caring Circle.

The two week garden memory stone class gives people an opportunity to not only share their story, but to create something personal.

“Some people bring their own memories to put into the stone and we also have our own supplies here,” Hoover said. “It’s really neat to see people come together and here they are just helping each other,” Hoover said.

These stones are a way to honor the spirit of the people that they have lost.

“It just brought back memories of things my husband had done that were important to him,” said Sammye Bale, a woman who took the class 2 years ago.

The group built an unbreakable bond that they will carry with them throughout the rest of their journey.

“You find out that you’re not crazy. They all been there where you are so they have insight or they are there to help you so you build this bond with them,” said Karen Doty, who also took the class 2 years ago.

A new memory garden class started Monday. The group will continue to meet until mid-July. If you’d like to learn more about the memory stones and other services offered by Caring Circle, click HERE.

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