COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Federal Bureau of Investigation recommended a grief counseling service based in Colorado Springs for people impacted by the Return to Nature Funeral Home. The Voices of Grief Support and Education Center is offering their services at a free or a reduced cost.
The executive director of Voices of Grief Support And Education Center Kathy Sparnins said they want to help victims through their grieving process.
“To say this is complicated grief, is kind of an understatement,” Sparnins said.
Around 30 people have already reached out to Voices of Grief for their services and they are anticipating even more. Sparnins said they can help people get connected with trauma therapists, grief counselors and a better support system.
“The FBI has given our name as folks to respond to these families, and we feel it is a huge responsibility,” Sparnins said.
“In terms of the families being traumatized, part of what they need is justice, they need to know that someone is going to be held accountable for this huge betrayal,” Sparnins said.
She said losing someone is incredibly difficult, but this circumstance creates another layer of trauma.
“An added trauma has reopened the first grief and has now opened an additional wound, so its two levels of grief,” Sparnins said.
She has many tools to help people through this process.
“I would just say grief is not meant to be done alone, you're meant to sit in a room by yourself or go in the closet,” Sparnins said.
She suggests finding a close friend or confidant that will listen.
“What you need is someone who is comfortable in their own skin, to just sit with you and listen to what's going on and say I hear you,” Sparnins said.
Sparnins said if you don't have that person, you can call Voices of Grief.
“You are not reaching out to some expert that knows more than you, you are reaching out to us because we are companions and know grief is natural,” Sparnins said.
She wants to remind people to be kind to themselves and compassionate to others. She said American society has conditioned people to apologize for crying or getting emotional. Sparnins said it's important for people to go through all the emotions.
“Feeling what you feel does not mean you're weak. I think it is the other way around, I think you have the courage to feel what you feel,” Sparnins said.
Sparnins feels honored to work with these families and do what she can to help them.
“We are all just trying to walk each other home,” Sparnins said.
They are having a candlelight vigil at the end of November for the families impacted. Voices of Grief is also starting a grief group specifically for people affected by the Return to Nature investigation. Sparnins said the group will begin to meet in January.
Voices of Grief is a part of many community events throughout the year. Saturday, November 11 at 5 p.m. is the Trees of Life— an annual tradition to remember loved one. It will take place at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.
Voices of Grief is hosting the Illuminating Hearts event on December 2 from 2-4 p.m. It's their annual Luminaria event. They will have practical resources for navigating holiday grief and a time for reflection at Aspen Trail Retirement Resort.