Emerging from Grief: Gretchen's Story


Emerging from Grief: Gretchen's Story

emerging by gretchen dunfee

My husband, Tom, was a strong supporter and always encouraged me in my artistic endeavors. I was Tom’s caregiver through the last four difficult years during which he contracted and was diagnosed with many illnesses including dementia, heart disease, and myasthenia gravis.

Tom passed away at Munson Healthcare’s Hospice House on July 20, 2020. My family and I were so thankful during COVID-19 that we were able to be with him. Tom had a peaceful transition there until his passing, which I will always be grateful for.

Shortly after his passing, I was contacted by Erin Gray regarding classes and grief support groups. It was through this group I began to heal; I felt I was emerging from a fog for the first time since Tom passed. Through listening to others, you realize you are experiencing so many of the same feelings and experiences; that you are not alone.

I want to share how important Munson Healthcare Hospice programs are. The care, the support, it’s invaluable. I can’t say enough about how deeply it has impacted me. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who make these services possible.

A Release Through Painting

During my caregiving of Tom, I had no free time or desire to paint. It wasn’t until after five years of caregiving and grieving that I felt this urge to stand in front of my easel and paint. Painting has always been a very mindful and expressive experience for me.

I decided to choose my color palette, found an art board, started applying paint with brushes and palette knives, and began this painting - just letting my intuition take me through the painting. After about three hours of painting, I knew it was done as tears ran down my cheeks. Such a relief to be able to release my emotions!

I felt as though I was starting to emerge through my grief process. This painting has such a deep emotional attachment to me.

- Gretchen Dunfee, Munson Healthcare Hospice Patient Family Member

Support Hospice Today

Thanks to your support, individuals throughout northern Michigan (just like Gretchen and Tom) have access to compassionate end-of-life care and bereavement services, regardless of their ability to pay. 

Click the button below to make a gift to Munson Healthcare Hospice services today. 

Make A Gift