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Finding the Way Through Grief

Clear Mourning Offers Support on a Personal Journey

In 2016, local resident, therapist and former hospice social worker Sarah Peterson experienced two great losses in her life. Her two-year old daughter, Marley, was killed when their family car was struck by a drunk driver. Three months later, Peterson lost her father. Having walked beside patients experiencing grief, this was not new territory for Peterson. But, this journey through grief was different. It was her own. And, it opened her eyes and heart to the real need for a shift in the culture of grief, the need for real support for those walking through this journey that is so much a part of life.

It was during her own grief work and journey that Peterson had a vision of creating an organization that would offer strong support and solace through a variety of programs and services, ensuring that no one must endure grief in isolation. On May 2, 2019, Peterson and a close friend founded Clear Mourning as a local nonprofit. For them, it was an investment in their community, filling a need often overlooked.

“Grief is an intrinsic part of the human experience; it's the emotional price we pay for love,” says Sarah Peterson, LCSW and President and Founder of local nonprofit Clear Mourning. “The process of grieving is crucial because unresolved grief can manifest in our lives in detrimental ways, affecting our relationships, our health, and our ability to engage with the world.”

ith their mission to “transform the culture of grief through three core avenues: support, innovation, and awareness,” Clear Mourning offers a unique approach to treating grief not as a condition to be fixed quickly, but as a profound relationship to be developed. With their services and programs aimed at embracing a wide range of age groups, Peterson says, “We prioritize the personalization of grief experiences, recognizing the individuality of each journey while also embracing the common threads that bind all mourners.”

For children kindergarten through 8th grade, Camp Courage offers a space for young people to safely navigate feelings of loss through therapeutic activities such as art, music, and storytelling. In addition to this program, Clear Mourning has introduced 'Grief Gifts,' a compassionate initiative designed to provide crucial financial assistance amidst grief for essential needs such as funeral expenses, medical bills, retreats, and massage. This program underscores Clear Mourning's commitment to offering tangible support alongside emotional solace.

“Our initiatives, from modernizing mourning attire to fostering community support, are designed to validate and honor the grieving process,” notes Peterson.

“Founding Clear Mourning has been an extraordinary part of my healing process,” states Peterson. “In the early stages of my grief, I yearned for guidance from someone who had walked a similar path – a bereaved mother who could illuminate the road ahead and assure me that joy and peace could still find a place in my life. Now, through Clear Mourning, I serve as a beacon for others, providing insight into the grief journey, acknowledging the unique yet universal aspects of living with loss.”

Peterson goes on to say, “It is my intention to share knowledge and introduce innovative ways for individuals to forge a meaningful relationship with their grief. In doing so, I continuously nurture my own connection with my grief, honoring the memory of my daughter and father. Their presence is intertwined with the essence of Clear Mourning, and in this work, I am deeply engaged with their legacy.”

“Clear Mourning is more than an organization; it is a movement towards a culture where the bereaved are understood, supported, and given the space to find new meaning in the wake of loss,” states Peterson. “Our goal is to ensure that no one has to endure their grief in isolation but can instead navigate their journey with a wealth of resources and a compassionate community at their side.”

For more information about services and programs offered by Clear Mourning, and to find ways to invest in and support their mission and work in our community, check out their website. Clear Mourning welcomes support in the form of volunteers, financial support, program sponsorship, as well as art and camp supplies for Camp Courage, which takes place June 24-27 this year.

  • Sarah Peterson, LCSW and Founder/President of Clear Mourning