GREELEY, Colo. -- Death is something none of us can avoid, but so few of us know how to process or even talk about. That is why there is a non-profit in Greeley called the Community Grief Center.
"In American society we don't do grief very well. And people learn very quickly that they really aren't welcome to share their grief. It makes people uncomfortable. And the griever ends up comforting those who are uncomfortable instead of working on their own grief," said Debby Baker.
Baker is a clinical psychologist who helped start the Community Grief Center soon after the death of her own mother.
"We are a nurturing place that welcomes grief. And we help you on your grief journey," Baker said.
"We'll get calls from someone who is sitting at a stop light and sees our ad and says: 'I lost my son 10 years ago and I think I need help because I'm just not doing well with it," said Melissa Jensen, Community Grief Center's executive director.
"I really want to stress we are not a counseling center, we are a companioning center. It's their grief journey and we go alongside of them," Baker said.
That may mean gathering in a group to talk about loss or just listen to how others are dealing with the death of a loved one.
"We are a welcoming place to talk about grief. We advertise: you don't have to talk, all you have to do is listen," Baker said.
"What happens is they start to help each other through it, because they can understand each other because they've experienced the same thing," Jensen said.
The Community Grief Center has programs for a variety of people, including children, teenagers, moms, men, and caregivers. People from age five to 105 come to this non-profit and leave feeling better about something that few know how to discuss.
"To see people walk in pain and broken and to see them walk out, not healed, but with the possibility of joy in their hearts because they've been able to talk and begin to heal...it's why I do this. This is a passion for me," Baker said.
"Debby is one of those people who people are drawn to because she is very warm, she's very calm, she's very reassuring. This is her mission in life," Jensen said.
Baker is a retired Air Force Colonel. Her military background and her faith have taught her about the circle of community, and about meeting others on their journey.
"I am a woman of faith and we are non-secular here. That works really well because some people come in and don't have faith and we meet them there. Some people come in and they're really angry at God and we meet them there. Some people come in and say 'I'm only here because of God,' and we meet them there," Baker said.