A family-based organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Session 2

Holding Grief and Gratitude Together in This Time of Unimaginable Loss 

October 29                   
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Watch the recorded presentation

View the PowerPoint

The Time of COVID has brought us additional losses that previously may have seemed unimaginable - from loss of normalcy, loss of freedom, loss of loved ones, loss of the ability to grieve together, and so many more. How we cope with loss, how we are present for the crisis, and how we move through the journey of mourning are all very important. This panel presentation and discussion will explore many kinds of loss and provide you with strategies to cope and heal from the losses. We will share with you how some Chapter Guardianship Programs and Hospice Centers during COVID have found creative ways to allow for grief and remembrance for lost loved ones. We will also explore further ways for ongoing collaboration between local Guardianship Programs and Hospice. We look forward to learning from your experience as well. 

“The gift of grief is a great mystery when we face it, when we allow ourselves to wrestle with it, when we allow grief to flow through us,
it can release us to know the rhythms of life where strength and courage can be found.”

- Ira Baumgarten


Ira Baumgarten
Author, Senior Trainer and Consultant
National Coalition Building Institute

Carla Braveman
BSN, RN, M.ED, CHCE,  President & CEO
Hospice and Palliative Care Association of NY State

Anne Clarke
Chairperson, Guardianship Committee
Member, NYSARC Guardianship Committee


Panelist Bios 

Ira Baumgarten and his family have experienced death and loss in their own lives. The support of hospice has helped them process the fear and grief so they could be present in their loved ones’ end-of-life journeys. As part of this healing process, Ira wrote the book A Night on Buddy’s Bench: An End of Life Story, to help initiate end-of-life conversations that can comfort both the living and the dying. In collaboration with the Hospice and Palliative Care  Association of New York State, Ira wrote a follow-up book titled: A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief – A Guide to A Night on Buddy’s Bench. These books, along with other texts and a short-film entitled Spirit Calling explore the beauty and brevity of life and have been used by hospice staff and volunteers nationally and internationally in their work with families and individuals. Prior to becoming an author, Ira had a career as an adult educator with the Civil Service Employee Association and the United Auto Workers. He is currently a senior trainer and consultant with the National Coalition Building Institute, a non-profit diversity and leadership training organization. Ira writes, “In this time of social isolation, our ability to hold both our feelings of loss and the preciousness of life is a spiritual calling we’re all facing.” Ira has a Bachelor of Arts degree from State University of New York at Oneonta and a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from Syracuse University.

Carla Braveman is the CEO & President of the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State. Prior to joining HPCANYS in 2018, Carla was in executive and clinical leadership positions in home health and hospice care for over 30 years.  Most recently, she served as the VP for Home and Community Services at Elliot Health System in New Hampshire. Carla and her family have moved around the country and she has worked in Maine, Washington State, Metro DC, Massachusetts, Florida, New Hampshire, and  now New York.

Anne Clarke has been called “the face, heart and soul” of The Arc Dutchess’s Guardianship Committee. She served as a Guardianship Committee Member prior to becoming the Chairperson of the Guardianship Committee, and also serves on the Board of Directors for The Arc Dutchess and on The Arc New York’s State Guardianship Committee.