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Workshops Sessions & Hospice Resources

A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief –
Helping Others and Ourselves

An In-service Session with Author Ira Baumgarten
(The session can be adapted to fit specific time availability and participant’s needs)

Part One The Journey- the Experience
To begin, we will listen together to A Night on Buddy’s Bench – An End of Life Story. The participants will have an opportunity to explore A Pilgrim’s Way Through Grief as a three phase spiritual journey. First, The Call to the Bench to face one’s own or another’s end of life; Second, Being On the Bench, wrestling with loss and grief, making meaning, seeking solace. Third; Returning from the Bench holding grief and gratitude together. This perspective can help us to be kind and patient with others and ourselves in the face of loss. Ira writes, “In this time of social isolation, our ability to hold our feelings of loss and the preciousness of life is a spiritual calling we’re all facing.”

Part Two A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief 
We will explore ways to use A Night on Buddy’s Bench in grief work, specifically, how to use the story of Buddy’s Bench to help individuals and groups in their bereavement. Examples will be shared about how to use the story as a springboard for discussions, grief journaling, creative art expression, and in creating rituals.

Hospice Trainings and Book Event Comments

"A Night on Buddy's Bench was shared with me through Northern Light Hospice. They have a wonderful program for volunteers that I have participated in. This was a share that really resonated with me. There’s a part when a warm hug is given. It is such a connecting moment for me. I received a warm hug from my grandmother. This story spoke to the deep loss I hold from that part of my family's roots. As a doula I listen to stories of loss. We are all connect by this loss and grief. We can lean into the spirit and feel what is left behind. A Night on Buddy's Bench has a mastery of nature references that give beautiful symbolism to grief and loss. Giving space for connecting with people gone with the spirit left behind. The loss of the friend, loss of a loved one and loss of oneself are all captured perfectly with connections to the ocean and nature. The beautiful imagery give space for connecting with your own loss. I really found this to be a special book. The YouTube video version I have seen also gives new life to this book.

Hospice Volunteer


“May I lend my voice to the many people who attended your presentation at our quarterly meeting last week. Hope you realize how much your words touched folks. So many accolades for you! In today’s world, the issues of loss and grief are front and center. We need to do everything we can to address them priority. Our wellness as a society depends on it, with so much appreciation for your presentation and donations.”

Kandyce Powell 

Executive Director, Maine Hospice Council and Center for End of Life Care

“On behalf of the Down East Hospice Volunteers Board and staff, I wish to convey our gratitude for the copies of A Night on Buddy’s Bench and A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief by Ira Baumgarten. We will look for ways to include the concepts and approaches expressed in our bereavement efforts. Both the publications and the Zoom presentation at the Maine Hospice Council Quarterly Education meeting by Ira are a credit to the Maine Hospice Council.”

Paul R. Strickland, Board President
Down East Hospice, Maine

Ira has conducted workshop, discussions and/or installations

with the following organizations:

Northern Lights Hospice, Bangor ME

Maine Hospice Council and Center for End of Life Center, Augusta, ME
Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts, Wrentham, MA
The Arc of New York Guardianship Program, Latham 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

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

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