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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

With safety as the primary concern, this year's A Walk to Remember honoring babies who have died will be held online.

The annual event also allows parents, family members and others to raise public awareness about perinatal death (miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth and newborn death).

Resolve Through Sharing sponsored the first remembrance walk during the International Perinatal Bereavement Conference in Chicago in 1986. October was designated as pregnancy and infant loss awareness month in 1988.

A Walk to Remember will be held Oct. 10 via Zoom. There is no cost to participate but registration is required.

The Zoom meeting opens at 9:30 and the program begins at 10 a.m. with a reading of the mayor's proclamation and a story about loss. Participants will engage in a guided reflection and closing ritual before an invitation to walk privately to honor babies who have died.

The remembrance walk is open to all ages. This year's event is sponsored by Gundersen Health System and Resolve Through Sharing.

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's Annual Burial and Memorial Service for Early Pregnancy Loss was held on July 16, 2020 at Mormon Coulee Memorial Park in La Crosse. Chaplain Tara Shilts conducted the service. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions on group gatherings, bereaved family members were unable to attend. For this reason, the commemorative event was recorded.

Bereaved families who experienced an early pregnancy loss between May 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020 may contact Gundersen Health System Bereavement Coordinator Ann Tyndall at grief@gundersenheatlth.org to receive the link to the video recording. This is the only way to access a viewing of the memorial service.

We know that this service can be an important part of healing for bereaved families. For those who were unable to attend, please know that your babies were laid to rest with respect and care.

Support at Gundersen

Local support groups

Grief Education and Support Group: This 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 2-1-1: Great 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.
what to expect

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