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Hospice of Washington County Opens Downtown Hagerstown Grief Center

The Hospice of Washington County celebrated the opening of a downtown Hagerstown bereavement center Friday. The facility will help friends and family of loved ones cope with their loss.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. Hospices are known for providing end-of-life care for their patients, but one local hospice wants to do more.

The Hospice of Washington County celebrated the opening of a downtown Hagerstown bereavement center Friday. The facility will help friends and family of loved ones cope with their loss.

Ashley Joujoute came to the center after losing her uncle Geoffrey recently. She says he was a father figure to her, and when the pain of losing him hit her she did not know what to do.

"To have somebody so close to you just die, is kind of really hard to deal with,” said Joujoute. “And that was kind of when I realized that I needed somebody to talk to."

She eventually came to the Hospice of Washington County’s community life center in downtown Hagerstown, which opened last month. The non-profit also has a center in Hancock earlier this year, and they want to open more so they can bring free grief counseling closer to the people who need it.

"Rather than saying you come to us, they said, we're coming to you," said Bernadette Wagner of the Hospice of Washington County.

"The clients feel really good about the fact that they need the support, but they don't have to travel all the way in to the northern avenue office,” said Lindsay Anderson of the Hospice of Washington County.

Cathy Campbell is a bereavement care specialist who helps people like Ashley deal with loss through tailored support.

"Grief is the most universal, inevitable experience that we are all going to have,” said Campbell. “It's going to affect every one of us...The relief that we see when that individual leaves our office...It makes us realize that what we do is very, very important."

Those who seek counseling at the community life centers say they' are thankful to have a service that understands the healing process.

"There’s no stigma to coming,” said Joujoute. “I think it's just wonderful to have a service where you can come in and just talk about the things that are going through your head."

All the grief services are open to the public for free for up to 13 months from when you sign up.

For more information about the community life centers or to sign up to volunteer click here.

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