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Meet Donna Lemer - Silent Grief Retreat Facilitator
Posted By Clara Hinton   |  Feb 21, 2008

Dear SG Family,

Several months ago, I asked Donna (one of our very first registered members on SG) if she would be willing to be a facilitaror for one of our group sessions. She immediately said that she was more than willing, and I'm so thankful for that! Donna has a lot to share with us. She has definitely traveled the road of grief many different times in many different ways.

I asked Donna to send me a profile of herself, and I'm posting that in its entirety so that you might get to know Donna and her background a little better.

I'm working on getting the registration form completed and online. It won't be long now! The excitement is growing as we continue to move forward with plans for the October 10 - 12 Silent Grief Retreat!

Now, let's meet Donna:

Hello, My name is Donna Lemer (cantlaugh) and I am a grief survivor. I have been a member of Silent Grief since December of 2001. I was a leader in the formation of a retreat in the earliest days. I am so excited that now seven years later a retreat is no longer a dream but a realization.

I have been married to my wonderful husband for 9 years this June. I can honestly say I am more in LOVE now, than I was the day I got married. However, our marriage has definitely survived multiple losses and stresses.

I am the mother of 4 living children.

Dalles who is age 20 is currently stationed near Baghdad, Iraq. We are anxiously awaiting his arrival home in late May or early June.

Deven who is age 15, is currnetly a 9th grader, and looking foreward to school being out and summer starting. Deven is my "smart" child. He loves television, computers, video games. Don't let him too close because he will take them apart to figure out how they work.

Krystyl who is age 4 lives in a world of fantasy, and believes that she is truly royalty. Just ask her if she is my daughter, and she will tell you "No, I am a princess" Her and I are the only girls in this family.

Keytyn who is age 2, is developmentally delayed, and is finally beginning to talk. We all giggle when we hear him say words. It is music to mine and my husband's ears as we thought we would never hear him speak.

I am honored to be asked to lead a break out session at this retreat...I bet everyone is wondering what makes me qualified or makes me more qualified then someone else.

First off, I do have life experience in this area. I get frustrated when I hear a professional talk about a topic. To learn that they have no life experience regarding that topic. They have simply learned through research, studying, and reading. In the last 9 years of our marriage my husband and I have expereinced a miscarriage, I suffered from a very deep depression, infertility, the death of our 11 day old infant, the birth of another premature baby, and a child with developmental learning delays, as well as we sent our oldest son to the "killing fields" war.

Educational and work expereince:

I spent 15 years working in a nursing home. I have held the hands of many dying people and their family members. In those 15 years I learned two things. 1. There is nothing harder then burying your child. Whether that child is a baby, small child, grade schooler, high schooler, or adult. Burying your child is a hard loss, and the grief is very deep. 2. Burying a spouse that you have been married to forever is also poisoned wth a very deep, scaring grief. I held the hand of a dying man, two days after his 75th wedding aniversary. His wife looked at me, with tears in her eyes and said, no one knows me as intmately as this man. He can finish my sentences before I even begin to speak the words. Who will I laugh with, who will I cry with, who will hold me during the darkness of a storm?

I have spent another 5 years working in hospice. One of my earliest patients was a new born baby. I stood with the mom and dad, as their precious little girl took her last breaths in their arms.

I am Hospice certified, as well as perinatal hospice certified.

I have a Bachelors Degree of Science in Nursing.

I am a Registered Nurse

It truly is my dream that one day, every NICU, every hospital birthing unit, every OB clinic, and every midwife will employ a hospice certified professional. Employ someone to hold the hand, and guide those through this gut wretching process of grief, and yet show them there can be peace through this journey, and hope in healing.

I'm sure all of you are looking forward to sharing in the wisdom of Donna. She's "been there" and she's a survivor. Please begin praying that God will guide Donna as she prepares to be part of our Retreat!

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