January 13, 2020
Support Through Unimaginable Grief: Bob Kock
In March 2017, Bob Kock and his wife received the news no parents ever want to hear: their daughter Brittany, 23, had died of a drug overdose.
For the next year, the couple struggled with their grief, having reached out to a few grief counselors but never finding the right fit.
Then, on March 10, 2018, one year to the day since the couple buried Brittany, Bob Kock's world turned upside down again.
Sherry Kock, Bob’s companion and wife of nearly 30 years, had been killed in a car accident.
"There was no way that I was going to go through this on my own," Bob recalls. "It was pretty much, I guess I was a walking zombie for a while."
That's when Bob's friend, Dave, paid him a visit and connected him with EveryStep bereavement counselor Denise Nahnsen.
While Denise works as an EveryStep hospice bereavement counselor, she often helps those who haven't been touched by EveryStep's hospice program
"Dave had gone through a few things and knew HCI [now EveryStep]," Bob explained. "He called Denise and left her my information. She called me."
Bob began meeting with Denise once a week and eventually joined EveryStep Grief & Loss Services
' Understanding Your Grief support group.
"She's been a godsend," Bob notes. "She and I developed a rapport. She's very good about listening and picking up on things that you don't realize. Then when the time is appropriate, she brings those things up so you can work on them."
Bob's experience with the grief support group was also helpful, he recalls.
"You get a chance to know that you're not the only person going through what you're going through," Bob says. "You get to talk about what you're experiencing and have someone who has walked in your footsteps to some extent, to share your story and feel comfortable in that setting. You’re not feeling judged while there."
Still, for Bob, it was the individual sessions with Denise that were "incredibly invaluable."
"There were a lot of issues that I wouldn't have felt comfortable discussing in a group setting," he says. "And Denise was very good at providing resources and avenues that I could look for, like books, authors and specialists that have been in different situations."
On the one-year anniversary of Sherry's death, Bob hosted what he calls an appreciation dinner for those in his life who had supported him during his time of grief.
"I asked Denise and her husband to come," he notes. "I told them all how much I appreciated them and that there were a few people I owed my life to. Without Denise, I wouldn't be here, I would have ended it. It was overwhelming."
"She helped me get through some incredibly tough times," Bob says. "She helped me understand there are still things that are worth continuing on for. I know there's a purpose, but I had to get through that initial overwhelming shock of things."
Today, Bob meets with Denise every six weeks or so just to see how things are going.
"She's a great person and has a heart of gold," Bob says of Denise. "She's just been awesome to work with. It was very much life-changing. I'm very thankful for her being present in my life."
While Bob doesn't see Denise as often as he once did, and he hasn't attended a support group after his initial eight weeks, he suggests anyone going through a loss reach out to EveryStep.
"First off, they are available for people other than just those who have been serviced through EveryStep Hospice," Bob points out about the common misconception. "There were several people in our grief support group that didn't have people in hospice."
Bob notes that without Dave, he would have never thought of coming to EveryStep.
"It's a tremendous resource...it's definitely something that is very, very beneficial that I don't think people realize is there."
"The appreciation I have for what has been given to me from the standpoint of help from EveryStep, I can't put words to it," Bob says. "It's one of those debts that you never feel like you're going to be able to repay. It's beyond appreciation."