From widow, to teacher, to artist


Breton Frazier, Volunteer Coordinator for the Haven Hospice Speakers Bureau, told Historic City News an inspiring story about Lamona O’Neill; who Frazier says has “come full circle”.

Mrs. O’Neill began as a grieving widow when she lost her husband after his 12 year battle with cancer. During the final two weeks of his life, he was cared for by Haven Hospice.

By attending a Hospice bereavement support group followed by a 13-week Grief Recovery course at Anastasia Baptist Church, Mrs. O’Neill was aided through her grief. She learned the stages of grief and how to cope with loss. She shared her story and listened to others tell theirs. She survived that difficult first Christmas without her husband of 42 years.

Gradually she began to participate in fellowship activities and to heal. “I found myself smiling again, laughing and enjoying life,” she recalls. It wasn’t long before Mrs. O’Neill felt called to comfort others in their bereavement. “I want to help others find their special place in God’s plan and to be filled with joy again.” She has just completed leading her first Grief Recovery course at Anastasia Baptist.

One of the gifts she treasures from her late husband is a digital camera. With it she began to experience the natural world around her anew. “I have learned so much about God’s creatures and particularly enjoy photographing water birds.”

As a volunteer helping with an upcoming community-wide Grief Conference, Mrs. O’Neill has generously framed 20 of her striking color pictures with inspirational Bible scriptures. These will be given away as door prizes along with 15 sets of her pictorial note cards.

The day-long event is co-sponsored by Anastasia Baptist Church and Haven Hospice and will be Saturday, September 19th. Mrs. O’Neill also created bookmarks as a memento for each Grief Conference participant.

Lamona O’Neill’s life has been transformed from bereaved widow to grief counselor and teacher. She has emerged from the dark times with a call to heal and an inspiring artistic gift.

Photo credit: Historic City News contributed photo