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Grief & Bereavement

Contact Us

Bereavement Coordinator: (608) 775-5278

Hospice: (608) 775-8435

grief@gundersenhealth.org

Gundersen recognizes that supporting those who are grieving is an important part of family-centered healthcare. We understand that grief is a personal journey, not a point in time. Your experience might differ from others' experiences, even those who are very close to you. To help you on your journey, we host commemorative events honoring your experience, offer resources, and provide a listing of local support groups.

Commemorative events

Hospital Service of Remembrance for Those Who Have Touched Our Lives

Services of remembrance are held twice per year for family members and friends of Gundersen Health System patients who have died in the hospital or the hospice program. Gundersen employees who have lost family members, co-workers, or patients are also encouraged to attend. These services are intended for those bereaved by pediatric and adult deaths. Services take place on the second Thursday in September and the second Thursday in March at 3 p.m. in the Rasmus Center (Gundersen La Crosse Campus, Level 1).

A Walk to Remember

A Walk to Remember is a way for parents, family members, and others to honor and celebrate babies who have died and promote public awareness about perinatal death. The event takes place yearly on the second Saturday in October, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This year's event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Southside Neighborhood Center, 1300 Sixth St. S., La Crosse, WI 54601. The schedule includes a brief program, activities for parents and children, refreshments, and a commemorative walk.

The event is co-sponsored by Gundersen Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare.

Candle Lighting Ceremony

The Candle Lighting Ceremony is open to parents and family members who have experienced the death of a baby during pregnancy or after birth. The ceremony takes place yearly on the second Monday in December. This year's event will be held at the Mary Crest Auditorium at Mayo Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, 700 West Ave. S., La Crosse, WI 54601. Refreshments are served at 6:30 p.m. The program begins at 7 p.m.

The event is co-sponsored by Gundersen Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare.

Annual Burial and Memorial Service for Early Pregnancy Loss

Gundersen patients—and their families—whose babies have died through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or other early pregnancy loss are invited to participate in Gundersen's annual burial and memorial event held on the third Thursday of May. This year's memorial will take place at 10:30 a.m. at Mormon Coulee Memorial Park, N1137 Bloomer Mill Rd., La Crosse, WI 54601.

Not all women recognize the ending of their pregnancy as the loss of a life. For others, this farewell ritual helps validate the life of their baby who died. The ceremony provides a collective space for grieving these babies and facilitates healing. Parents whose baby will not be buried at Mormon Coulee Memorial Park are still encouraged to attend this commemorative event. All babies who have died at Gundersen during the previous year and are not buried elsewhere are interred during this service.

The event is sponsored by Gundersen Health System in collaboration with the Mormon Coulee Cemetery Association.

Support at Gundersen

Local support groups

Grief Education and Support GroupThis six-week support group provides members the opportunity to share feelings and be with others who are grieving the death of a loved one. It offers education on the grieving process and readjustment to life after death. The support group is led biannually by Gundersen chaplains on the La Crosse Campus. It is free and open to the public. For more information and a current schedule, call Spiritual Care at (608) 775-3620.

Great Rivers 2-1-1Great Rivers 2-1-1 is a local organization that connects individuals to a variety of resources supporting anything from basic needs to crisis intervention. It provides referrals to local grief support groups, counselor services, treatment programs, and hotlines. Great Rivers 2-1-1 is accessible through call, text, and online chat. All services are free and confidential. Connect with a specialist by:

  • Calling the 24/7 Crisis Hotline at 2-1-1
  • Texting your zip code to 898211
  • Chatting online Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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