Pawtucket man shares calm approach with people experiencing grief

Pawtucket man shares calm approach with people experiencing grief

PROVIDENCE – While some people, unsure of what to do, might draw away from someone who is grieving, Alejandro Zima feels compelled to come close.

Zima, of Oak Hill, in Pawtucket, began volunteering with Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island, the nation’s second oldest hospice organization, in 2015. After establishing a “Mindfulness for Grief Support” group as a volunteer, he decided to make his mission his profession and accepted a full-time position as a grief counselor for the organization last October.

His mission is to help those who have lost loved ones incorporate mindfulness into their grieving process, while counseling them through some of the hardest circumstances of their lives.

Zima said he knew early on what a good fit he had with Hope Hospice RI.

“I feel like I’m giving people hope and a sense of self-empowerment, and helping them turn the grief process into something that can be a source of continued positive changes in their life,” he said.

This work can take a toll on some, said Zima, but he is energized by it.

“It’s more about hope and possibility in many ways than it is about loss,” he said. As a grief counselor, it’s important to strike a good work/life balance and keep the stories of sorrow at work, he said.

There is much research on how mindfulness and meditation can help someone recover from loss, said Zima. Society often encourages people to get up, brush themselves off, “move on with it and wrap it up,” he said, but it’s important for everyone suffering through the death of a loved one to pause, reflect and find the resources within themselves, even in the midst of very busy lives, to recover in a healthy way. It’s OK, he said, “to feel not 100 percent strong” and show some vulnerability.

Zima’s colleagues describe him as someone who has a calming aura, and someone who is soothing to be around.

He is working toward his master’s degree in holistic counseling at Salve Regina, and says he is looking forward to a lifetime of helping others.

Zima counsels at Hope Hospice RI’s main location at 1085 Main St., in Providence, and at partner locations around the state.

Visit for more on the organization.


If only for a minute!