New service for the grieving

Susan Templeman and Karon Coombs at the grief service launch.
Susan Templeman and Karon Coombs at the grief service launch.

Federal MP Susan Templeman shared a personal story of loss at the weekend as she opened a new local business focused on supporting people while they are grieving.

Ms Templeman was launching the business, ‘Navigating Your Grief Journey’, founded by long-time palliative care specialist nurse and bereavement co-ordinator, Karon Coombs.

“I could see there was very little in the way of support for the bereaved so I decided to fill that gap by launching a business to support people whilst they are grieving,” said Ms Coombs.

She plans to facilitate workshops using art (no artistic ability required) and people’s inner wisdom, to explore healthy ways to navigate the chaotic grief journey, in a caring, empathic and supportive environment.

“It is a place to grieve, cry, laugh, share, paint, learn from others and feel free to be yourself,” said Ms Coombs. She enthusiastically spoke of her aim, “illuminating the dark places in people’s souls so they can bring healing to themselves following loss”.

At the launch, Ms Templeman talked about her own grief following the loss of her home and all its contents during the 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires. There were more than 200 homes in total lost, leaving a whole community grieving.

Ms Templeman wished the workshops had been available for people after the fires.

“There were so many people who could have benefitted,” she said. She also delighted in the fact that another woman is starting a small business.

Following the death of her son, Ms Coombs conceived and directed the award-winning documentary, A Part Of You Dies. The aim was to educate midwives, nurses and doctors to better support parents experiencing stillbirth or the death of a babe in the first month of life. She presented it at the Fourth International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Stockholm in Sweden as well as many Australian conferences. The Netherlands bought the rights to distribute it and it has been widely used in universities and hospitals in Australia.

“Having personal experience of the death of my son, parents and friends has taken me to far deeper levels of understanding of grief and I bring that to my work," said Ms Coombs. "I have found the determination to take my pain and turn it into my medicine for the world through the workshops.”

Hervision is to see the western world move from denial of death and grief to a place of understanding and acknowledging the healing power of the journey of grief.

For more information call Ms Coombs on 0438 593 136 or email