Grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant loss, but nothing really prepares us for the intensity of grief we may feel. The range of emotions and physical symptoms associated with grief are many and varied. Grief is individual and unique, and so are the feelings, behaviours and thoughts each person will experience related to their loss. In grieving, the sense of isolation and fear can be profound. Not only has a loved one died, but often a life-style, and hopes and plans for the future also seem lost. Living on after the death of a loved one can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Often grievers are reluctant to share their thoughts and feelings for fear of burdening family and friends.
The Heart of Hastings Hospice provides compassionate bereavement support to those family members whose loved ones have been involved with our home volunteer visiting services or our residential hospice. Hospice contacts all families following the death of a loved one in our care. The form of support received is geared to your individual needs. Bereavement support is provided one-on-one, or in a grief support group, if appropriate. Our groups create a safe environment in which we examine different ideas about dealing with loss and how to take new actions to ease the pain associated with these losses. It may be difficult to imagine how sitting with others, whose loved ones have died, can help in dealing with one’s own grief, but the experiences of those who have participated in our groups, indicate that it is deeply meaningful. Some comments from previous group members are:
“I realized I was not alone–we were all in the same boat.”
“Even though I had never met any of these people, I felt we understood one another immediately.”
“Speaking openly and honestly helped me to see more clearly what was happening to me.”
It is surprising to many that this simple way of being together is generally NOT experienced as more depressing, but as a lightening of personal pain. Group members are helped by others listening sensitively to their stories, their grief; in turn, they are able to help fellow members in the same way. Even if a person’s loved one died, for example, two years previously, he or she can often benefit from a support group.
Bereavement Support Goals
We aim to provide an opportunity for you to examine how this loss and other previous losses have affected your life. We will discuss common myths about dealing with death, as well as provide accompaniment to help you deal with your own pain and move forward in your life. Recovery from loss is often achieved by allowing yourself the opportunity to complete the unique feelings of pain caused by your loss. Grief support will help you regain your sense of meaning and purpose in life. Our coordinators will also be able to provide you with various reference materials to help guide you on this journey.
There is no fee for our bereavement support services. Please call (613) 473-1880 to arrange for bereavement support from The Heart of Hastings Hospice or to register for an upcoming Grief Support Group.