A series of grief classes for those who have lost loved ones has started at Silver Creek Senior Living.

The first class, offered in partnership with Hospice of the Northwest, started Monday, but the next three are scheduled for Jan. 20, Feb. 3 and Feb. 17. All start at 2 p.m. and last about an hour.

“It’s designed to help people empower themselves and give themselves permission to grieve,” said Sheryl Sodorff, community relations director at Silver Creek. “Many people worry or feel pressure from their own friends and family because they’re telling them, ‘You should be over it’ or ‘You should be further along (in the grieving process).’ That can make it very hard in the grieving process because we’re pleasing other people.”

The classes, which are free and open to the public, were designed for spouses who are grieving, but it can be for anyone, Sodorff said.

“We encourage people to bring a friend or neighbor or family member who can better understand the grieving process,” she recommended.

“Even as an employer, you could have an employee struggling with a loss and sometimes you don’t know how to deal with that. So it doesn’t have to be just for those who are directly affected by death.”

The meetings will be led by social workers and chaplains from Hospice of the Northwest, who will guide participants to share what they’re going through.

“We don’t want anyone to feel they have to share experience — if they just want to observe, that’s fine,” Sodorff said. “But we try to make them comfortable to at least give feedback and share if they want.”

The Jan. 20 class will focus on how things have changed in general since the passing of the loved one and how friends and family have coped.

The focus of the Feb. 3 class is on how to give oneself permission to grieve and make changes.

The fourth class, on Feb. 17, is about forgiveness.

“Sometimes you think you could have done more for that person,”?Sodorff said.

“We allow all kinds of things to cloud our ability to move on or our ability to forgive ourselves, the person who left us or even to forgive God.”

Sodorff came up with the idea for the classes based on her experience in the senior care field.

“When you’ve worked in the industry for years, you see how sometimes they (seniors) really don’t feel they have a place to turn or a place to let themselves be heard,” she said.

“It’s really difficult when you lose your life partner ... and people think that they should be able to move on and it’s just not that easy.”

She added that everyone grieves differently and operates on a different timeline, but being able to come together can help those who are grieving along their journey.

“You find many, many people are in the same situation,” she said.

For more information on the classes, contact Sodorff at 503-981-4142 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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