HopeHealth volunteer grief counselor, Harry Potter, is a retired Providence Public Schools administrator who has been giving time and expertise for six years. He first learned about the organization when his family needed their support. “Ten years ago we decided to move my mother from the hospital to the HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center, so she could make her final transition surrounded by her family,” Potter recalls. “We had no idea what to expect or if they would accept how we wanted to celebrate our mother.” But Potter, his sister, and 24 grandchildren and great-grandchildren all felt compassionately informed, supported, and embraced by their care team.
After his mother’s death, Potter attended a Loss of Parent grief support group and was inspired to volunteer. With master’s degrees in counseling and education administration and a long career as an educator, he had a lot of experience in helping students navigate challenging situations. “Throughout my life, I have felt a natural connection with grief,” shared Potter. “I buried four siblings before my mother passed away. I knew I could give something back to this community with my experience, passion, and skills.”
His grief counselor, Deanna Upchurch, observed Potter’s compassionate nature and asked him to consider launching HopeHealth’s first Loss of Sibling group. “I have always been conscious of being a Black man – and how people may react to me as a facilitator,” said Potter. “But grief transcends all boundaries and is something we all experience.” “What I deeply appreciate about HopeHealth – and this opportunity to bring together people who are grieving and mourning – is what we can learn from each other when we have open and honest conversations, listening, and actively building a supportive community,” said Potter. “This grief experience goes beyond gender or skin color, and right to what our hearts and minds can offer each other in support and comfort.”