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Hospice Conversations - Grief

Hospice Conversations - Grief

On Saturday 5th June 2021, Warrnambool & District Community Hospice presented the first event in the Hospice Conversations series thanks to funding from the Warrnambool City Council and Wannon Water Ripple Effect initiative.  We hope this collection of interviews will broaden your understanding of grief and provide practical tips you can draw on when faced with loss - whether your own, or someone you wish to support.  Everyone who has registered for this event will receive an email with links to the resources mentioned in the interviews below.

The clip below provides a brief introduction to Warrnambool & District Community Hospice and the services we provide the community.

Welcome to the Warrnambool & District Community Hospice

This 2 minute video is a brief explanation of the Warrnambool & District Community Hospice service.

1. Grief is not a mental illness – Isobel Siebel

Isobel Siebel is a bereavement counsellor with the Crystal Lee Foundation in Warrnambool and a Hospice volunteer. Lu Butler, Training Advisor for Warrnambool & District Community Hospice, speaks to Isobel about the personal losses that prompted her studies of grief and led to her involvement in the establishment of a free bereavement counselling service. Isobel also shares the four essential tasks that people in mourning should focus on.

Resources: For more details about the free grief counselling service provided by the Crystal Lee Foundation please visit

2. Grief is a lifelong process – Lu Butler

Lu Butler is the former Manager of Warrnambool & District Community Hospice and now Volunteer Training Advisor. She speaks with current Manager, Emmalee Bell about the experiences that led to her work with Hospice and influenced her approach to grief. In this conversation, Lu addresses common misconceptions of grief and the learnings she passes on to Hospice Volunteers.

Resources: To learn more about the Hospice in the Home service or volunteer opportunities with Warrnambool & District Community Hospice visit or call (03) 5563 3220.

3. Grief is love with nowhere to go – Samantha Rennie

Samantha Rennie is a grief and loss educator from Melbourne, who has worked as a teacher, nurse and therapist in the education, health, and funeral sectors. She has been privileged to hold many peoples' hands as they journeyed through abuse, separation, disease, dying and death. Samantha is interviewed by, Lu Butler, Training Advisor with Warrnambool & District Community Hospice about the mental health impact of unexpressed grief and her work helping people heal. She offers insight into the connection between grief and love and advice for those struggling to cope with a loss.


  1. The Guesthouse by Rumi.
  2. The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise by Martín Prechtel.
  3. Nonviolent Communication – a language of life by Marshall Rosenberg
  4. Website -

4. Grief can come before loss – Jan Smith

Jan Smith is a Volunteer with Warrnambool & District Community Hospice and a Palliative Care Counsellor with South-West Healthcare. In this interview conducted by fellow Hospice Volunteer, Marcia Thomas, Jan discusses the death of her two sons and nephew from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Jan provides valuable insight into palliative care and her work supporting families in similar circumstances to hers.


  1. When Bad things happen to good people by Harold Kushner
  2. The Happiness Trap, How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris
  3. ACT Acceptance Commitment Therapy
  4. MyGrief. The app.
  5. The Compassionate Friends of Victoria ph. 1800641091
  6. Beginnings and Ending with Lifetimes in Between by Bryan Mellonie, Robert Ingpen (Illustrator)

5. Grief impacts wellbeing – Mandy McErvale

Mandy McErvale is a Community Grief Support Initiator from Portland who founded the charity Beats Cycle for Hope with her late Husband to raise money for cancer support services. While speaking with Catherine Bailey, Community Engagement & Fundraising Coordinator with Warrnambool & District Community Hospice, Mandy talks about the importance of a focus on self-care and wellbeing for those who are grieving.


  1. Beats Cycle for Hope
  2. Portland YMCA

6. Grief is not always associated with death – Dr Jodie Fleming

Dr Jodie Fleming is a Clinical and Health Psychologist and Author from Warrnambool who is interviewed by Hospice Manager, Emmalee Bell about the grief she experienced when facing Breast Cancer. The conversation explores the different kinds of losses that can lead to grief, how to recognise signs of grief in others and provide effective support.


  1. A Hole in my Genes, a memoir by the Dr Jodie Fleming can be brought at Collins Booksellers in Warrnambool or visit
  2. There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

7. Grief is a verb – Cherie Scott

Cherie Scott is a Funeral Celebrant and Compassionate Communication Facilitator and Coach, who helps people develop effective communication skills to enhance their personal and professional relationships. In this interview with Catherine Bailey, Community Engagement & Fundraising Coordinator with Warrnambool & District Community Hospice, Cherie discusses different cultural attitudes to loss and grief and the benefits of compassionate communication and communal grieving.


If you would like to contact Cherie for the PDF discussed in this interview or request a community, compassionate, communication facilitation, please email Cherie at