August 1, 2023
How Grief Created New Connections and Friendships: Lynhon's Story
Married 28 years, Lynhon and Dave Stout of Ankeny had a lot of fun together. From traveling the world to browsing antique stores, they enjoyed spending time together. “He liked his red sports cars and he would dress to the hilt,” remembers Lynhon. “He was wonderful — just one of those very special people.”
Dave lived with Parkinson’s disease for nine years before he was diagnosed with melanoma in 2020. He had the cancer removed, but within months it was discovered it had spread throughout his body. He received EveryStep Hospice care in his home, and passed away in January 2021 at age 71.
As a social worker, Lynhon knew the value of a support group and Dave’s death prompted her to seek out the grief groups offered by EveryStep Hospice.
“I had no friends who had lost a spouse and so I didn't have that connection or that understanding with anyone. People were good, but they just didn't know how to respond,” says Lynhon, who found connection and understanding in EveryStep Hospice’s grief support groups. “It's your connection to know that what you feel is real and that other people are going through the same thing that you are. It's not a straight line, it's up and down. You think you're doing well and then you see something that just triggers you.
“People can participate as much as they want. It’s safe and it's created new friendships for me. Probably 75% of my activities are now with these grief friends that I never knew before,” says Lynhon, who meets with her new friends for lunch or dinner, and also to continues to attend the scheduled EveryStep grief group meetings. “I think what's wonderful with the group that we've created is that we share, we understand, we support each other, and we really are kind of each other's best friends, yet we would never have met had it not been through [EveryStep].”
Because of her positive experience, Lynhon encourages anyone living with loss to see what groups or events are available through EveryStep Hospice or EveryStep’s Amanda the Panda grief groups. “Definitely come and give it a chance because I think most people will find a connection, as well as other resources.”
Grief support groups are hosted at EveryStep Hospice locations in seven Iowa communities and at the EveryStep Grief & Loss Services office (home of Amanda the Panda) in West Des Moines. All support groups are free and open to the public.
If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential Find Care form. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.