Healthy Impressions

Good grief

Photo: Anthony Rao
Written by James Combs

For mourners, there’s life after death.

Photo: Anthony Rao

Dealing with the death of a loved one brings intense, indescribable pain. 

But Chareece Hall equips mourners with a powerful weapon. She gives them permission to grieve, which is an effective, healthy response to loss. 

“Losing a loved one is one of life’s greatest challenges,” she says. “However, you’re never alone in death.”

As a licensed therapist and bereavement counselor for Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care in Tavares, Chareece takes mourners on a journey from grief to hope. She offers individual counseling and leads therapeutic bereavement support groups, guiding the way to healing for those who initially feel their loss is too painful to bear. 

Most clients seek her services for anywhere from two weeks to a month after the loss of a loved one. That’s typically when the outpouring of support—in-home visits and sympathetic phone calls—begins to wane.  

“At that point, their thoughts go back to the circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one,” says Chareece, who earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling and psychology from Troy University in 1999. “Their thoughts can become overwhelming.” 

Having provided professional grief support services for Cornerstone since 2005, Chareece has seen mourners enveloped by many emotions, ranging from guilt and frustration to shock and confusion. Some are plagued by persistent thoughts about what could have been done to prevent the death. Others suppress their feelings. 

“I want clients to release their feelings during the grieving process,” she says. “It clears out space so we can pour in more hope and light.”

Support group settings are particularly helpful in allowing grievers to share their feelings. While close friends won’t always grasp the difficulty of losing a loved one, those in a support group are all coping with a loss. Thus, participants have an opportunity to receive valuable advice and give it, as well. 

“They’re all in the same boat, and it’s better than being in a boat alone,” Chareece says. 

Cornerstone offers other grief programs, such as camping experiences for teenagers and a social group for adults who enjoy monthly outings. All services are free and open to everyone in the community.

“The goal is to help them find joy in life again, because that is what their loved ones would want,” Chareece says. “This is my mission and calling in life, and I love the people I counsel unconditionally.”

About the author

James Combs

Akers Media Group's James Combs has been a staff writer for several local publications since August 2000. He has had the privilege of interviewing some of Lake County’s many fascinating residents—from innovative business owners to heroic war veterans—and bringing their stories to life. A resident of Lake County since 1986, James recently embarked on a journey to lead a healthier lifestyle. He has lost 60 pounds and walks nearly five miles a day. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, skeet shooting and watching his beloved Kentucky Wildcats!

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