Carleen Hennenfent of Bismarck will speak about grief during a free presentation from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, at Babb’s Coffee House in Jamestown.

The Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center is hosting the event and purchased 50 copies of Hennenfent’s book, “Incomplete,” to give away after the presentation to attendees.

“It’s a local business owner ... a member of Pride of Dakota, that we’re helping to support but also she’s delivering really timely and relevant content on coping skills, addressing grief and building resiliency,” said Katherine Roth, executive director of the Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center.

Hennenfent said she will speak on topics in her book ranging from the physical, psychological, emotional and relationship aspects of loss to holidays, children’s grief and more. Loss is not only about the death of a loved one, it also could be loss of job or a home, she noted.

“We’re all incomplete in some way for different reasons and anytime you go through a loss (of a person) …“it’s an empty and incomplete feeling with that person,” she said.

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Hennenfent, who has a Bachelor of Science in mortuary science from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, worked for more than 22 years as a licensed funeral home director, facilitated grief support groups and made grief visits to more than 3,000 families. Some of their stories are included in the book, she said.



Grief and loss are topics address in "Incomplete." Kathy Steiner / The Sun
Grief and loss are topics address in "Incomplete." Kathy Steiner / The Sun



For example, during one home visit, Hennenfent said there was a young girl present and her grandmother, who had lost her husband. The grandmother began crying and said, “I feel like half of me is gone,” and the little girl said, ‘If you feel like half of you is gone because grandpa died that means half of him is still here with you.’”

The book is filled with coping mechanisms, Hennenfent said.

“People need almost to have those coping mechanisms expressly stated so that they understand what they are,” she said. “If you have a particular issue or struggle with grief, the question is not why is this happening to me, it’s how do I deal with it. What do I do. How can I take the power out of it.”

Hennenfent said her book is about education, stories and coping mechanisms.

The first part of the 188-page book deals with grief and the second part, “This, That, And The Other” deals with topics such as children in grief and seasons and the holidays. The loss of pets is also included in the book.

Hennenfent will answer questions during the presentation. Questions she has heard from people include:

  • “I haven’t been able to cry. Why am I not crying?”
  • “Why am I crying all the time? Am I going to be like this forever?”
  • “Am I ever going to get through this thing? How do you do that?”

“They feel like they’ll never get better again and it’s like, 'yeah, you will,'” Hennenfent said.

Hennenfent has experienced loss. She said her baby died when she was 23 and her husband died 21 years ago.

“I’ve been there,” she said. “But there were so many things in there (her book) that I wish I would have had when I was 23.” Books at that time were written by clinicians and psychologists, using terminology that was hard to understand, she said.

Hennenfent also said fear is part of loss.

“People don’t realize that they’re dealing with a lot of fear when they go through loss,” she said. “A lot of people say, ‘Well, I haven’t got any fears, I just have worries.’ Well, that’s a fear. So the book is to speak to what they may be going through. Maybe they don’t have words for it.”

“Incomplete” was written in 2020, Hennenfent said, but wasn’t marketed that year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The book is available through Amazon, Outskirts Press, Barnes and Noble, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest.

Registration is free and required for the presentation and to receive a free copy of the book after the presentation. Register at https://bit.ly/3ixncpr

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If you go

What: Discussion on grief with author Carleen Hennenfent

When: Tuesday, June 22, from 1-3 p.m.

Where: Babb’s Coffee House meeting room, 100 First Ave. S, Jamestown

Admission: free; registration required at https://bit.ly/3ixncpr