Workshops Sessions & Hospice Resources

A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief –
Helping Others and Ourselves
This session will explore how Hospice caregivers can approach grief work
through the perspective of a hero’s journey. Readings and concepts from both
A Night on Buddy’s Bench and A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief will be
shared. This perspective of viewing grief as a hero’s journey or pilgrimage can
help us to be kind and patient to others and ourselves in the face of loss to
find solace, meaning and resilience. (Length in time 1.5 - 2 hours)
A Night on Buddy’s Bench –
A Remembrance Session
In this session participants will be invited to listen to a reading of the A Night
on Buddy’s Bench. Afterward participants will share reflections and
remembrances from listening to the story. (Length in time 1hr – 1hr  15 min)
To request a workshop session contact Ira at 510-441-3535 or at: There is no fee for the sessions.
Ira has conducted workshop, discussions and/or installations

with the following organizations:

New York State ARC Guardianship Program, Albany, NY

Venice Peace Project, Venice, FL

MaineCare at Home Hospice, Camden, ME
Sussman Hospice House, Rockland, ME
Saratoga Community Hospice, Saratoga, NY
Hospice & Palliative Care Association, Albany, NY
CareFirst Hospice, Painted Post, NY
American Meditation Institute, Averill Park, NY
Arts, Letters and Numbers, Averill Park, NY
Monhegan Library, Monhegan, ME
Sierra Madre Public Library, Sierra Madre, CA
Book House, Albany, NY
Log Cabin Books, East Greenbush, NY
Burden Lake Book Club, Averill Park, NY

“He hoped for an answer to a long-held question. “Why did he die so young.” … He heard a Voice in the fog: “Why do any of us die when we do? All I know is that when there’s loss, we have a chance to feel a shared pain, and that can make our hearts expand.”

- From A Night on Buddy’s Bench

Hospice Trainings and Book Event Comments

“Volunteers who are drawn to hospice work have an abundance of caring concern for those they serve. Their work is sometimes intimate and intense with the unique challenge of coping with death and loss on a regular basis. This summer, hospice volunteers from our agency came together to attend facilitated explorations of grief, loss and resilience with Ira Baumgarten, author of “A Night on Buddy’s Bench – An End of Life Story”. We were delighted that he chose to make our volunteers the beneficiaries of his important work and thankful for his creation of such a loving and supportive “space” for all.” 

- Connie Jones, Hospice Volunteer and Bereavement Services Coordinator, MaineHealth
Care at Home

“As a bereavement counselor at Saratoga Hospice, my role is to facilitate meaningful conversations around the subject of grief and loss. A Night on Buddy’s Bench provided a springboard for discussion of various overarching themes: the idea of a "safe space" (the bench) from which the bereaved can find a source of strength and centering following a loss, the need for those grieving to keep their loved ones alive through narrative, the integration of the loss by the bereaved through memories, sensory experiences, and visual images, as well as the fleetingness of life itself. My goal for the session was to allow the volunteers to ponder their own personal losses in relation to the book. The group reported that they could relate to many of the themes presented. In fact, many individuals reported that reading the book allowed them to look at their losses through a very different lens. It seems to me that in our society, which appears to be quite grief-adverse, that a book such as this serves as an important catalyst for discussion. Volunteers stated that they could envision using the book as a tool in the homes of the patients they serve.”

- Meg Parobeck, Saratoga Community Hospice, Bereavement, Counselor

“The talk went very well and there was so much interest afterwards too! It was so unique with having the recording playing...a really wonderful experience. I’d love to repeat the event again. I appreciate your generosity in making it a fundraiser for the Library too.”

- Mia Boynton, Monhegan Library, Director

“A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief – evening of remembrance … was such a moving gathering, so alive with all energies and hearts in the room... I am really touched by the whole story with all of its layers of lives and deaths, lights and leaves, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, trees, lights and benches!”

- David Gersten, Founder and Executive Director of Arts, Letters and Numbers

Hospice Resources

Conversation Project

Dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) is the largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care

programs and professionals in the United States. The organization is committed to improving end-of-life care and expanding access to hospice care with the goal of profoundly enhancing quality of life for people dying in America and their loved ones

National Hospice Foundation

NHF is the fundraising affiliate of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. As the national charity for end-of-life care, NHF is responsible for soliciting and stewarding charitable gifts received to National Hospice

No Veteran Dies Alone 

Volunteer Program – US Veteran Administration

Music and Memory

Is a non-profit organization that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life

Hospice Foundation of America

Grief support information - what is hospice - how to choose a hospice

Medicare Hospice Benefits

Booklet to explain Medicare Hospice services

NHPCO Caring Info

Resource for families on grief and loss, advance care planning

Stephen Jenkinson 

Author of Die Wise

What’s Your Grief 

Promotes grief education, exploration, and expression in both

practical and creative ways

Catching Your Breath in Grief...

and Grace Will Lead You Home

Thomas Attig

The Five Ways We Grieve: Finding Your Personal Path to Healing After the Loss of a Loved One 

Susan A. Berger

Dying Well 

Ira Byock


It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok 

Megan Devine


Being Mortal 

Atul Gawande


Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for

Working Through Grief
Martha Whitmore Hickman


I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can 

Linda Sones