February 2015





For information on programs, services and upcoming events,  please call


Support Groups
To register for any our support groups, please call our Intake Coordinator 
See our current calendar of Support Groups

Ocean of Souls, Art by
Diana Valdez-Wickline on display in our Leigh Block Gallery through the end of April

Volunteers Needed

Hospice of Santa Barbara invites community members interested in providing emotional, social and practical support to individuals with life threatening illnesses and their families to become a part of their volunteer team. Interested individuals must attend the training workshop series before volunteering. The next training session begin on April 15th and runs through May 20th.   For more information, please contact Nicole Romasanta at nromasanta@hospiceofsb.org or complete an application by clicking here.


Community Five Wishes´┐Ż Workshop

The Alliance for Living and Dying Well offers free community workshops to facilitate end of life discussion and assistance in completing advance health care directives.  Workshops are offered the third Thursday of each month at HSB.  To register, please call 805-845-5314.

Did you know....


February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day.  What random act of kindness are you going to do?


Nearly 2,000 community members receive hope and healing in HSB's support groups.


Hospice of Santa Barbara provided 6,075 counseling sessions last year to children, teens, adults and families who are facing life-threatening illness and to those who are coping with grief.


New Donors

With sincere gratitude,

we welcome our new donors.  Without our generous donors, it would be impossible for Hospice of Santa Barbara to continue fulfilling our mission of caring for those experiencing the impact of  a life-threatening illness or grieving the loss of a 
loved one.
(1/1/15 - 1/31/15)

Steve Beane
Erika Blitz
Jennifer Harden
Mrs. Phyllis M. Keimach
Marlene Klamt
Maryann Koens
Micholyn Brown Design
Mr. and Mrs. Doug Roberts
Alida Sanders
Louise Stewart

We would also like 
to acknowledge our renewed Heart of Hospice 
supporter (annually renewable gifts of $1,000 
or more) 
(1/1/15 - 1/31/15) 

Doedy Orchowski

If you wish to become a new
Heart of Hospice member or renew your membership, please contact us at 805-563-8820 

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What's Happening at HSB

Whatever your situation and circumstance, Hospice of Santa Barbara offers an opportunity for you to connect with others who are facing, or have faced, your situation. All our support groups are co-facilitated by licensed professional counselors and peer counselors -- men and women just like you who have faced their own grief and are now ready to give back to others.


Sometimes life is just not fair...


I picked up the phone to call my daughter, Emily, but decided to text her instead.   We had been disagreeing about school matters. After a series of nasty texts back and forth I called it a night.  It was one, if not the only time, that I did not end a conversation with "I Love You". 


The next morning at 4:00 am, we awoke to pounding at our front door.  Assuming something had happened with his aging father, my husband answered the door.  Then I heard his screams - "Not Emily." For a split second the world stood still - our Emily was dead.  I remember thinking if I don't go out there, maybe it would all go away and just be a bad dream.  It was slowly sinking in that my life was over.  How do I tell my 12 year old son that his sister died?


That first week I felt like I was watching a movie, a very bad one at that.  Everything was going on around me but it hurt too much to feel anything.  I was petrified to be away from our son.  I lived in fear that something would happen to him.  When would the next shoe drop?  I felt like a hamster on a wheel and I was more tired than I had ever been in my whole life.  I thought that if I really let go I would never stop crying.


A friend recommended Hospice of Santa Barbara.  I really didn't think anyone could help but agreed to try.  I knew I would not be able to talk without breaking down.  No one would understand the empty pit in my stomach and hole in my heart.


The group forever changed my life.  Here were people that shared my feelings.  I realized that I was not going crazy but was in the deepest of grief.   I was able to speak about the pain of losing Emily, the guilt that I felt over not being able to protect her, and the overwhelming anger of losing her.


As time went on I began to feel a shred of hope.  That constant feeling of despair began to slowly change.  I could actually go a half a day without crying.  I learned healthy ways to start to heal and that not everyone's grief is the same.  I began to feel again.  I looked forward to going to group.


Before long I felt like getting back out in the "real world".  I no longer needed to live in a cocoon of grief.  I knew that Emily would never have wanted that.  I learned to talk about her around people without making everyone feel uncomfortable.  It was important to keep her memories alive but also adjust to the new life without her. My heart began to soften again and I was able to let love in.  Hospice of Santa Barbara taught me that I could live without Emily because I would always have her love and memories.


Hospice of Santa Barbara helped to heal my very broken heart and understand that Emily will always be a major part of my life.  It is a process but I could never have gotten where I am without the tremendous support of Hospice of Santa Barbara. I can now cherish the 21 years I had with my beautiful daughter.


-Terri, former client 

To support this and many other programs offered by Hospice of Santa Barbara please click here.

Meet the Staff


Suzanne Retzinger, PhD, MFT


Suzanne has been providing counseling service at Hospice of Santa Barbara since 2002.  She works individually with adults who are grieving, anticipating losses and who are dying.  In addition to individual counseling, she facilitates groups.  Currently she facilitates the Healing the Loss of an Adult Child group, where people have lost adult children through illness, suicide, and other tragic means.  She has facilitated the Organ Transplant group for many years, and co-facilitates the Pet Loss Support Group.  She loves to write and teach on issues of loss.


About her work at HSB, she says, "I am honored to sit with out clients who have lost loved ones; to be with them in ways that I did not have in my early losses.  I am grateful to those who open their hearts in trust at the most vulnerable times of their lives, sharing their losses, allowing me to attend them on their journeys.  I am in awe as I witness their suffering and grace in healing.  My clients have enriched my life.  I would not trade these journeys for anything else." 


Suzanne received her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Sociology from UCSB, and a Masters in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from California State University at Northridge.  She completed a two-year long program with The Sacred Art of Living and Dying Center and a year long intensive program with the Metta Institute.  For the past seven years, she has continued to be involved with the Metta Institute, serving incoming classes each year, and learning all she can about end of life and grief.


Alternate Ways to Support HSB 


All services at Hospice of Santa Barbara are provided free of charge.  We rely on the generous support of the community to continue our work.  You can support our programs at Hospice of Santa Barbara by:

  • Sending us a personal story about how Hospice of Santa Barbara has affected your life to info@hospiceofsb.org for possible inclusion in future newsletters.
  • Forwarding this newsletter to your friends and family.
  • Following us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Adding us as your charity of choice on AmazonSmile.

In-kind gifts have as much impact as a gift of cash.  Some items currently needed are:

  • Gift certificates for Community Supported Agriculture produce boxes to support healthy nutrition
  • Gift certificates to "wash and fold" laundry services and/or dry cleaning
  • Gas cards for transportation to and from medical appointments
  • Drug store gift cards for personal and medical care items
  • Petco gift cards to support a pet companion of those facing a life-threatening illness
  • Grocery store gift cards for those experiencing financial hardship due to illness or death in the family 

Make the most of your options


Everyone with a life insurance policy knows you can name a spouse or child as a beneficiary.  You may not know that you can also name a charitable organization like Hospice of Santa Barbara as a beneficiary and benefit from a tax deduction.  A gift of life insurance is a wonderful way to support our work at a fraction of the cost of other gifts.


To find out more, please contact us at 805-563-8820 or visit us at www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.