April 3rd, 2009

A balloon release honoring loved ones who have died is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 11, in the Memorial Garden at Great River Hospice House, 1306 S. Washington Rd., West Burlington. It is sponsored by Great River Medical Center's Spiritual Care Department, Great River Hospice and the local chapter of Compassionate Friends, a bereavement support group. The public is invited.

"With the arrival of spring and Easter, this is a good time of year to remember loved ones in a special way," said Randy Gearhart, director, Spiritual Care. "Everyone who comes will have an opportunity to write names and special messages on the balloons in honor of their loved ones before we release them."

Great River Medical Center hosts four bereavement support groups:

  • Compassionate Friends is for parents who have lost a child of any age. The local chapter of this national organization holds weekly meetings.
  • First Friday Share, scheduled on the first Friday of each month, offers a short presentation followed by a potluck dinner, and visiting and sharing with others.
  • Grief Share, sponsored by Harmony Bible Church, is a 12-week program offered continuously throughout the year. Meetings are weekly.
  • Grieving: The Journey to Healing is a nine-week program for anyone who has lost a loved one. It is offered three times a year.

For more information about the balloon release or bereavement supports groups, please call the Spiritual Care Department at (319) 768-4060.