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Grief center offers counseling for families impacted by Return to Nature funeral home

Voices of Grief plans to help the family members of the 189 people whose bodies were found decaying inside a former funeral home.

PENROSE, Colo. — People whose loved ones' bodies were left inside a funeral home to decay need support, and mental health advocates hope to fill that need. 

The Voices of Grief Center is offering free and reduced-price services for those impacted by the discovery at the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose

"We're pulling together as many community members and collaborative partnerships just to give everything we know how to give," Kathy Sparnins, executive director of the Voices of Grief Support and Education Center, said. "It's horrific. It's awful. No one should have to do this."  

The counseling center plans to help the family members related to the 189 bodies authorities said were found decaying inside a former funeral home. Sparnins told 9NEWS at least 25 families involved in this case have called her office. She said they're partnering with other agencies to help them out. 

Credit: Tom Cole

"What's happening now is just a real traumatic response within these families because they thought they buried someone and now the whole wound of grief has opened back up along with the sadness of grieving and mourning their beloved and they have to realize they've been betrayed," Sparnins explained. 

From in-person group counseling to virtual options Sparnins said what these families are going through is something they shouldn't do alone. 

"These circumstances are very different and very atrocious," she explained. "So we're just working to get our services out there to let people know we're another resource to call." 

Credit: Tom Cole

Those with Voices of Grief said they are working with their partners to coordinate a vigil for these families. It will give them an opportunity to light a candle, say the name of their loved one and be comforted to know they're not alone. 

"I think we can lend our hearts and our love to these folks that are walking this path way," Sparnins continued. "I think just offering to walk with them in this journey is one of the big ways we can be helpful because we all are horrified and no one should have to do this again." 

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