Coping with Loss Conference

March 4, 2021

This conference is dedicated to helping parents and caregivers grieve the loss of a loved one, diagnosis of a child or family member with a chronic illness, or other life-changing events.

During this global pandemic, loss is ever present. Whether you are mourning the loss of a loved one or grieving a life-changing event, we invite you to join us for an afternoon of community-building and resource sharing. Our conference features licensed clinical social workers, skilled grief counselors, poets and speakers with experience helping themselves and others cope with significant losses and find comfort in companionship with others.

By listening, sharing, and connecting through presentations and discussions, we aim to hold a space to help one another navigate the difficult journey of processing significant life losses.

The benefits of the conference include:

  • Provide emotional support for parents and caregivers grieving the loss of a child, teen, or significant person in their lives with others who are navigating similar losses
  • Provide access to mental health professionals and community grief support resources
  • Bring together a caring community to offer hope and support for those embarking on the lifelong journey of grieving life-changing loss or diganosis

This half-day conference is free and open to the public. Reserve your spot today by completing the form below.

A Conference Dedicated to Helping Parents & Caregivers Cope with the Loss of a Loved One, Diagnosis of a Child’s Chronic Illness, or Other Life-Changing Events

March 4, 2021
A North Star Reach virtual event

Date: Thursday, March 4


12:00 PM - 12:15 PM


Opening comments to introduce the conference and intentions for our time together.

During this time of global pandemic, there are so many losses — from a country mourning tens of thousands of lives lost to COVID-19, to the disruption of nearly every aspect of individual, family and community life. We will share our intentions for creating a space to help us all, from professional caregivers to parents of young and adult children, walk together through the process of loss and come away from our afternoon together feeling less alone.

Jessica Doletzky, CCLS, CTRS
Family Liaison & Outreach Specialist,
North Star Reach

Mary Ann Fithian
Director of Community Engagement & Human Resources,
North Star Reach

Rebecca Patrias, M.D.
Medical Director,
North Star Reach


12:15 PM - 12:55 PM

KEYNOTE: Learning to Navigate the Grief Journey

A mother's personal story of navigating grief

Lynn Jarrett is a former heart mom to Hannah, who lost her life to a heart and blood infection in 2016. She is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor and is currently a caregiver coach to parents of chronically ill children. She helps caregivers experiencing burnout to restore their strength so they can care well for themselves and their loved ones, and lead a healthier, more balanced life. (You can learn more at her blog, Midlife Moxie.) She will share the challenges and baby steps she took to move forward with her life after losing her 15-year-old daughter.

Lynn Jarrett, LPC
Caregiver Coach 
Retired Licensed Professional Counselor


1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Breakout Session A

Supporting Siblings After the Loss of Their Brother or Sister

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In the Child and Family Life Department at Michigan Medicine’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, play therapy is often used to help family members verbalize their needs and process losses. A look at techniques with a focus on helping siblings trying to process life-changing medical events for other siblings and family members.

Jennifer Gretzema, LLPC, NCC, SCL, CCLS
Child Life Specialist and Mental Health Counselor
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

Hope After Loss

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Coping with the loss can be difficult and overwhelming. This program will discuss leading educator, grief counselor, and author Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s needs of mourning. I will also offer an opportunity to learn more about what is normal in grief and how to approach loss with an element of hope..

Margie Martin, MA
Grief Support Services Manager and Community Liaison
Arbor Hospice in Ann Arbor


2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Breakout Session B

Shaping Grief with Language

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A conversation about the power of poetry to help process grief and re-shape experience through expressive language and poetric reflection.

Rabbi Sara O’Donnell Adler, BCC
Healthcare Chaplain & Poet
Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan


Cody Walker, MFA
Poet & English Professor
LS&A, University of Michigan

Anticipatory Grief

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Learning how to identify and cope with anticipatory grief symptoms while you are caring for a dying loved one can help you find more meaningful ways to say goodbye and help you prepare for a future for yourself after the anticipated loss.

Jennifer Hill Buehrer, LMSW
Palliative Care Social Worker
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor


3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Breakout Session C

Supporting Grieving Kids & Teens: A Conversation for Parents and Guardians

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Bereaved families often have questions about what grief can look like in their children and teens. This workshop will provide an understanding of children’s grief, possible grief reactions at various developmental stages and ways for parents and caregivers to provide support. 

Hannah Brown, LMSW
Ele’s Place Ann Arbor

 Supporting Grieving Kids & Teens: Tips for Professionals

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Depending on their age, children may not be cognitively able to understand death or grief-related concepts. It can be challenging as professionals to know how to approach these conversations. This presentation will provide an overview of characteristics of children’s grief and possible grief reactions at various developmental stages. Tips for providing support to grieving children and teens will be shared, as well as helpful language to use.

Peggy Galimberti, LMSW – Clinical, ACSW
Program Director/Clinical Social Worker, Ele’s Place Ann Arbor



4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Self-Compassion in the Midst of Loss

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Pastor Vicky Lovell and Danielle Groth will share alternative counseling interventions, Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping or psychological acupressure) and devotions. Once learned, these helpful techniques can be added to your tool belt to help you process loss and grief.

Rev. Victoria Lovell, BA, MEd, MDiv
Associate Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor
Founder, Angel Whispers Ministries

Danielle Groth
EFT Practitioner & Meditation Facilitator
I Am Well, LLC
Vice President, Angel Whispers Ministries


Coping with Loss
This conference is free and open to the public. However, registration is required.
If you would like to attend a breakout session, please select the sessions you’d like to attend. You can always switch but this will help us with our planning. (If you cannot make a breakout session but wish to attend one or more other presentations, simply leave these fields blank.) All breakouts will run 45 minutes with 15 minute breaks between sessions.

Participant Information

Yes, I’d like to stay informed about North Star Reach programs and events.

Conference Participant Waiver

I understand that North Star Reach may make audio/visual recordings of the Coping with Loss Conference (Mar. 4, 2021). I give North Star Reach and its affiliated entities permission to use conference photographs and audio/video recordings to promote public understanding and support for children with serious illnesses and for other media, promotional and/or advertising purposes. Note: All sessions will be recorded; however, attendees will have the option of turning off their video camera during interactive sessions. *
In the interest of respecting participants’ privacy, I agree not to take screenshots or to record in any manner presentations, breakout rooms, social mixers, chats or other conference activities. *

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North Star Reach Camp

1200 University Camp Drive
Pinckney, MI 48169


North Star Reach is an independent nonprofit medical speciality camp based in Pinckney, Michigan. We provide life-changing camp experiences for children living with serious illnesses and their families, at no charge to them. You can support us today by making a donation.

Stay Connected

North Star Reach Camp

1200 University Camp Drive
Pinckney, MI 48169

Stay Connected


North Star Reach is an independent nonprofit medical speciality camp based in Pinckney, Michigan. We provide life-changing camp experiences for children living with serious illnesses and their families, at no charge to them. You can support us today by making a donation.

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