Blog 1 - Who is Gwen?
I am a wife, mother, and professional grief counselor with over 30 years of experience in helping families who are grieving. Before our children were born, I worked in Hospice care and assisted patients facing death, and guided their surviving families through their grief. Once our children were born, I was able to stay home all day and worked a few nights a week at a large funeral home directing their aftercare program and assisting the bereaved once again. It is so odd how looking back grief has always been my passion.
While staying home with my kids I ‘dabbled” in childcare. It allowed for extra income and most of the time it was my friends children that I was paid to care for. There were a few times that others got my name and I watched their children as well. This was a very difficult job and oddly enough made grief work look like a breeze. I did try to appreciate all the time I had home with my children. We made many memories as a family in our pond, our camper, the trampoline in the yard, and all the countless
bonfires and kickball games.
Another big part of my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. After many years of serving Him, I can say that is has been what sustains me. I do know that I can effectively support someone who does not believe as I do, I can give many practical tools to helping the bereaved, but for me, I cannot imagine a life without Christ. It has been a great privilege to spend the last five years of my career in a ministry that is Christ-centered grief support.
Public speaking has been a part of job but more than just a duty, it has also become a passion for me. Teaching and educating the bereaved or those helping the bereaved has been a great joy. This has led to many other opportunities to speak. I have provided pulpit relief, been a keynote speaker on a variety of topics and lead many woman’s groups/conferences.
I have worked very hard to not allow the sadness in which I work to carry over into my home life. Keeping a proper balance has been something I feel I can say I have achieved. While my home is not perfect, we are not dying or actively grieving currently. Laughter, not taking myself too seriously are virtues I live by and they have served me well.
Lastly, I would like to share that working with death and grief has given great value to my life. I know that life can change in an instant and that each moment is to be treasured. It has allowed me to live with a broader perspective about what is important and what is not. I tend to filter through the lens of “in the whole spectrum of life, where does this fall?”
Other names I go by are daughter, sister, and friend. I find each of these as treasures and I cherish relationships above all. It is the combination of all these relationships, my experience in the grief field, and the work that God has done in my life that make me who I am. I look forward to sharing more of me as we go along.