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Gem of the Week: New chapter in grief process

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GRAND FORKS, ND--Making the grief process a little easier.

This week's gems have come together with a first of its kind project in the region to help comfort those in need.

Behind the sliding doors of the Grand Forks Public Library, there are thousands of 'gems.'

Books of different genres for all ages--but there is a new collection that now sits right inside those sliding doors.   

“We wanted it to be visible, so right when you walk in the door you see it,” said Megan Lysford, Community Engagement Librarian for the Grand Forks Public Library.

It's called Altru Recommends--the collection deals with grief.

“Books like these make all the difference in the world," Lysford said.

Megan Lysford knows first hand. She lost her older sister in a skiing accident when she was a little girl.

'Reading helped me get through things that talking didn't.' Lysford said.

Grief specialists at Altru came up with the idea for the new section--the only one like it in the region.

“We have a pretty short window of interaction with them at the hospital when they are at the end of life with their loved one, so we decided it would be great to have resources that they can access whenever they need them throughout their entire journey,” said Melissa Swenson, a Child Life Specialist with Altru.

Over the past few months - each book has been thumbed through by a grief specialist and stamped. The collection also includes e-books and audiobooks - along with online resources.  

“You will be overwhelmed by what's there and not know what is quality, so we have have gone to the quality resources that are out there and compiled a list for people,” said Bereavement Coordinator, Rachel Dauksavage.

Altru spent about a thousand dollars on the new collection. It was paid for by you generosity - money from Giving Hearts Day. The hospital said it's important to offer these resources off campus.

“It's a public place and neutral place, people may not be ready to come back to the hospital after a loved one has died, it might be too emotional for them to come back into the building so having a place off campus can be reassuring for those members,” said Dauksavage.

A special set of books - picked with love and care to provide comfort and support to those who are grieving.

“When I was going through that I never would have gone up to anyone, to me it was a very personal thing and I never thought to go and ask someone for help,” said Lysford.

Altru and the library plan to each add to the collection, if you aren't a member at the library - you can still access the materials by getting a referral from Altru.

For a list of resources - click here.