Navigating Grief

Heafey Hoffman Dworak Cutler

By Linda Sutherland

Grief is a process and a journey that is different for everyone. Sorrow presents itself in many ways. The acceptance of the loss of a loved one is never easy, but it helps to have somewhere supportive to turn. If you need some help navigating grief and loss, you can turn to Sharon Zehnder at the longstanding Omaha institution of Heafey Hoffmann Dworak Cutler Mortuaries and Crematory. 


Sharon is the Aftercare Director at the mortuary, and her passion, love, and caring touch for people in the process of grieving is unsurpassed. Sharon brings 20 years of experience to the table as well as an excess of devotion and heartfelt compassion for people who have experienced loss. After losing a loved one, she acknowledges, people experience true pain and sorrow that can be difficult to navigate. Sharon offers grief resources, comfort, care, and compassion to help mourners work through the pain and suffering that occurs after a death. 


Sharon describes herself as “a cheerleader for hope, driven to educate people about grief and the expectation of a positive outcome.” This uplifting woman has a master’s degree in liberal studies and a bachelor’s degree in child and family services, and she publishes a monthly newsletter about grief and hope. She has also recently published a book entitled “CrossWords for Grief.” This book offers hope, encouragement, and truth for people going through the difficult times of bereavement and loss.


A person’s individual response to loss can appear in many ways, including emotional, physical, behavioral, cultural, and spiritual aspects. Dealing with these aspects is Sharon’s passion, and she strives to bring emotional healing to all who seek her guidance. Within the pages of her book, you can find 30 carefully chosen words that relate to the path and journey of healing and returning to life. She compiled these 30 distinct elements after extensive research and interviews with people dealing with loss. What is the number one word on the list? Hope. This optimistic state of mind can be a spiritual lifeline to hold close during difficult circumstances. 


Sharon offers grief support, education, and weekly support groups, all intended to bring about emotional healing and encouragement. She provides a positive foundation for those who seek her help and guidance. By bringing people together through support groups, Sharon provides a way for mourners to connect with other people who are going through the same grieving process. She strongly believes in education regarding grief and that aftercare is a vital resource to people working through the death of a loved one. 


Sharon provides care beyond the funeral service. She helps mourners acknowledge the complicated steps of grieving and the extended process of healing. “If you broke your leg, you would not wait for it to heal on its own, you would get medical help,” she points out. “Grief takes a toll on every cell in your body, and it is real pain. It is okay to feel that pain, and it is okay to seek help.” In fact, the only way to heal from grief is to allow yourself to feel the pain of it. Sharon’s book and her newsletter provide practical help for people dealing with that pain, and her support groups continue with the journey of emotional healing. 


Sharon has spoken at many retreats and seminars. This dedicated woman sees her vocation as a blessing, and she tackles every day with enthusiasm and the belief that exploring the stages of healing will lead people to set realistic expectations and goals. The devotion and love that Sharon exudes has been a beacon of hope for many people seeking advice, support, and information at an exceedingly difficult time. The act of guiding people through an emotional upheaval and giving them direction is an extraordinary and valuable talent, and the Omaha area is lucky to have Sharon.


Heafey Hoffmann Dworak Cutler Mortuaries and Crematory has been in business for over 130 years. The first Heafey Mortuary opened in 1882. This family-owned business goes back five generations, assisting families in their time of need and comfort. They have an impeccable record and operate with highest standards in their field. They offer varied services and have handled the pandemic with the utmost care and diligence. They take social distancing very seriously and offer live-streamed services for friends and family who may not be able to attend a service in person. They have several options available to families during these challenging times.


Heafey Hoffmann Dworak Cutler Mortuaries and Crematory is located at 7805 West Center Road. You can reach them by phone at 402-391-3900 or online at For more information about Sharon and her book, visit

Sharon Zehnder

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11570 West Dodge Road, Omaha, NE 68154

402-397-0732  |  888-892-4076

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