Author Ira Baumgarten Offers Free Grief and Bereavement Resources for Hospice Providers

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.

Ira Baumgarten and his family have had several experiences with death and loss, and the support of hospice helped them process the fear and grief often associated with death so they could be present in their loved ones’ end-of-life journeys.

As part of this healing process, Ira wrote the book A Night on Buddy’s Bench: An End of Life Story, a picture book designed to help initiate end-of-life conversations that can comfort both the living and the dying. The book and other texts Ira has created explore the beauty and brevity of life and have been used by hospice staff and volunteers nationally and internationally in their work with families and individuals.

In this time where many find themselves separated from formal supports like friends and family, Ira has generously made his resources free on his website, www.anightonbuddysbench.com. The free resources available for download include:

  • A Night on Buddy’s Bench – An End of Life Story (audio book)
  • A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief – A Guide to A Night on Buddy’s Bench (PDF)
  • Spirit Calling (film)
  • Hearts Quarantined I & II, mini-books of heart doodle meditations (PDF)

Ira writes, “In this time of social isolation, our ability to hold both our feelings of loss and the preciousness of life is a spiritual calling we’re all facing. My wife and I just experienced that spirit calling. We had to go to Buddy’s Bench and face our grief. My mother-in-law, Ann Bonville Trombly, the illustrator of A Night on Buddy’s Bench, after years of struggling with Parkinson’s died from Covid-19 virus. We were fortunate that we could do a home hospice and she passed away at home and with family. We are very grateful to Hospice and Palliative Association of New York State for honoring Anne by exhibiting her paintings from Buddy’s Bench in their reception area.”

Ira’s work includes collaborations with NHPCO’s fundraising affiliate, the National Hospice Foundation, and the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State. He hopes that hospices across the country can utilize these free resources as an extra source of support during this time when so many are experiencing loss and grief. Ira welcomes hearing about your experience or questions; you can contact him at: irabaumgarten@gmail.com.

The Faces of Caring campaign was created for hospice and palliative care professionals to share their experience providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you would like to share your photos and stories from the front lines, please go to www.nhpco.org/faces-of-caring.

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