Coping

Honoured to be a Clinical Lead at Camp Erin Toronto - a FREE bereavement camp for kids and teens

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Am honoured to be a Clinical Lead for Camp Erin Toronto, an incredible FREE weekend bereavement camp for children and youth aged 6-17.   

Camp Erin Toronto is provided FREE to families and is open to any child who has experienced the death of an immediate family member or custodial caregiver, regardless of cause or length of time since the death.  Activities focus on providing campers with the tools needed to help them in their grief and with difficult experiences throughout their lives, while enhancing overall wellness, play and vitality. 

Camp Erin gives children and youth the opportunity to meet with other grieving kids in a fun and natural environment; understanding that they are not the only ones to experience the death of someone close to them decreases the sense of isolation that many grieving children experience.  Source: https://drjaychildrensgriefcentre.ca/programs/camp-erin/

As a registered charity that DOES NOT RECEIVE GOVERNMENT FUNDING, Camp Erin Toronto depends on the generosity of donors. For information, to refer or to donate, please visit: https://drjaychildrensgriefcentre.ca/programs/camp-erin/

For information on other Camp Erin locations in Canada and the U.S. visit: https://elunanetwork.org/camps-programs/camp-erin/

Ways to Survive the Holiday Season When You're Grieving

"The holiday season hurts. That is just reality. Whether you are missing someone who should be part of the festivities, or you are missing someone who shared your love of quiet acknowledgment over raucous partying, this season will add some to your grief. But there are ways to make it gentler for yourself..." via Megan Devine, Refuge In Grief

To read the full article, please visit: https://www.refugeingrief.com/2018/12/14/ways-to-survive-the-holiday-season-when-youre-grieving/

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A free Handbook for Supporters. Extending Compassion & Care to Grieving Youth

Am truly honoured to be a partner agency with the Children and Youth Grief Network.

Absolutely thrilled to announce our new resource is now available for FREE to any supporter caring for grieving children and youth. As grief and loss does not discriminate and affects children and teens everywhere, this resource is appropriate for anyone working with, or caring for, children and teens.

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This invaluable resource outlines creative activities, tools and resources while providing essential information about how to support children and teens throughout the grieving process.

If you would like to receive a pdf. of "A Handbook for Supporters. Extending Compassion & Care to Grieving Youth", please contact the Children and Youth Grief Network via info@childrenandyouthgriefnetwork.com

Do you know a grieving child or youth (aged 6-17) who could benefit from support?

Do you know a grieving child or youth (aged 6-17) who could benefit from support?

Am proud to be the new Clinical Director for Camp Erin Hamilton and want to share information regarding this extraordinary free camp. 

Camp Erin is a FREE weekend bereavement camp (held annually in June) for children and teens ages 6-17 who are grieving the death of someone close to them (parent, caregiver, sibling). Campers participate in fun, traditional camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support, led by expert bereavement professionals and trained volunteers.

The following short videos capture Camp Erin Hamilton and highlights some of the kids and teens sharing the brilliant range of experiences that both normalize their thoughts and feelings and further empower them to cope with grief and loss.

If you know a grieving child or teen (6-17 yo) who would benefit from this experience, camper applications are now being accepted. Camper applications are due March 26th.

For more information, please watch the following video, or visit Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice or https://kemphospice.org/camp-erinfor details and application forms. 

FREE resources for families facing illness, uncertainty, grief and loss

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Am honoured to have been part of the development team for the latest resource, Kids Grief, which was just launched on the first National Bereavement Day in Canada. I believe it is important to share these valuable resources for individuals and families facing illness, uncertainty, grief and loss. This information is also helpful for any healthcare professional or volunteer wanting more information and resources when providing support in acute care, primary care or within a community setting.

The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators. (Source: Canadian Virtual Hospice)

Kids Grief (0-18 yrs.) http://kidsgrief.ca/

Talking with Kids and Teens about Dying and Death. What do I tell the kids? How do I support them? A free online resource to provide guidance to parents on how to support children who are grieving the dying or death of someone in their life. It equips parents with the words and confidence to help their children grieve losses in healthy ways. (Source: Canadian Virtual Hospice)

Camp Erin offers a weekend for kids coping with grief and loss

"We strongly believe that the Camp Erin experience is life-changing. Family members and caregivers experiencing their own grief, while simultaneously helping their child to grieve, are often overwhelmed and feel helpless. Grief left unchecked can lead to depression, behavioural issues, suicide and substance abuse.

Much of what is addressed at camp is the isolation kids feel around their grief; it is a poignant experience for the campers to have the chance to go away for three days, (oftentimes, these kids have never been up north) with other people their own age, forming a bond over their loss. Camp Erin is a safe place for young people to identify with other kids who are feeling the same emotions, including anger, worry, guilt and often, a "Why me?" outlook.

When kids come back from camp, at ease and with the confidence to talk about their grief, it gets passed along to their parents."

Full article: Camp Erin offers a weekend for kids coping with loss

When Grief Gets Physical: dealing with physical grief symptoms

"There is simply no way to anticipate what grief feels like.  It is one of those experiences that you can describe to someone, but it is impossible to really understand it until you are forced to live with it.  Of all the unimaginable aspects of grief, there is one thing we hear people say time and again that they really didn’t expect: physical grief symptoms. They might not have been fully able to appreciate the emotional rollercoaster of grief until they were on it, but they at least had a sense it was part of the process.  The physical stuff is something many people tell us they simply didn’t know to expect until it hit them like a ton of bricks.

When this happens, it can be distressing.  Anytime we have new, uncomfortable physical issues it is distressing.  But in grief that can sometimes be coupled with a new level of anxiety.  In the past, a headache was a headache.  After the devastating loss of a loved one, you are all-to-familiar with the reality that life can turn on a dime."

Read the full article at What's Your Grief

64 New Year’s Resolutions for Grievers

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“One of my favorites was a beautiful comment from Jeannette Brown, a Buddhist, who explained that “rather than make resolutions for grief, every morning and every evening we pray (by chanting, our form of prayer) for the happiness or repose of all of the deceased. We believe that if we continue our growth and pursuit of happiness, our deceased family and friends will continue to become happy as well”.   I love that sentiment so much, but as someone who just barely manages to commit to a shower every day, resolutions admittedly help keep me on track.

Whatever is right for you, grief resolution or no grief resolution, we hope you find the list of ideas… helpful in thinking about how you will grieve in the new year.”

The Quiet Blessing of Grief That Never Ends

“If you’re feeling sorry for me, please, don’t. During the hours I was tossed by this unanticipated wave of sorrow, I knew I could tolerate my sadness. Time has taught me that these waves come — and then go.

Perhaps more surprising, even as I lay curled in a soggy heap, I felt grateful for this wallop of forever-after grief. It provided reassurance that my sister hasn’t faded to a beloved, but distant, memory. Instead, for those hours, Pooz was once again a vivid presence in my mind and heart. There was pain, yes, but there was also the solace of knowing that she is still very much with me.

I count that as a blessing. Amen.”

Wonderful #Books that #Help #Children #Grieve and Make Sense of #Death @brainpickings #hpm

“From Japanese pop-up magic to Scandinavian storytelling to Maurice Sendak, a gentle primer on the messiness of mourning and the many faces and phases of grief.”

The Sky Isn’t Falling @Speed4Sarah in @brainchildmag on her #diagnosis of #ALS.

“I was spinning, untethered from the person I felt I had once been. A marathon runner, a devoted mom and wife, an independent woman who had never particularly liked asking for help. I was consumed by my sadness and confusion, by my anxieties about what was to come.

And then I discovered other people who were like me. Young moms and dads, people in their 20s who never had a chance to start a family, all of them living with ALS. I found them by writing about my experience, by joining a group on Facebook, and by becoming heavily involved with several nonprofit organizations that raise money for ALS research. My people, it turned out, were not the ones in the senior home who had lived long lives and had much to show for it. My people were the ones who were fighting for their lives, fighting for more time with their children, fighting a disease that we’d been told would certainly kill us–and soon”.

#Grieving When You’re an #Introvert

"The process of mourning and grieving is hard for everyone, but there are elements of the losing a loved one than can feel especially difficult when you’re an introvert.

As an introvert myself, when I was mourning the death of my parents, so many of the traditional parts of the mourning process felt very invasive to me. For instance, people coming over to my house after the funeral. I had just been taking care of ailing parents and planning a funeral and now I have to have people over? I know that everyone meant well, but having people in my home, some of them I barely knew, felt very unsettling. And then came the inevitable questions, are you going to sell the house, are going to move and what are going to do now?"

The role of #Social #Workers in #Palliative, #end of life and #bereavement care. #hpm

"Social work is essential to palliative, end of life and bereavement care. Some social workers deliver specialist palliative care social work; many others encounter people who are close to or at the end of their life, or are becoming or are bereaved. Social workers have a great deal to offer". 

#Canadian Virtual #Hospice. Information and #Support on #Palliative and #End-of-Life #Care, #Loss and #Grief. @VirtualHospice

"The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators."

Things No One Told Me About #Grief

“No one purposefully neglected to tell me these things about grief. Loss, pain, sorrow, heartbreak, they are all simply topics that aren’t discussed in depth and that are experienced in both unique and universal ways. To say: this is how you will experience grief robs it of the unique, yet to say: this is how we mortals experience grief is to give the gift of not being alone. How do we talk about things for which there are no words, in any language that can capture the whole of it? The pain of tragedy burns so deeply and transformatively that we pander around in art, movies, poetry, flowers, songs, essays, trying to grasp the unfathomable. That’s what tears are for, they are the words of the utterly crushed…

No one ever told me that explicitly, either, but I think I’ve known it all along. That love both breaks and heals. Walking through loss with my daughter and sharing our grief is strengthening our relationship. Even though it won’t miraculously heal scars or close up black holes of loss, shared grief is what love looks like.”

It’s worth it: #Love in the face of #Death. @lexibehrndt

"It’s a painful thing losing someone you love. It wrecks you at your very core. It shatters you, as they take a piece of your heart with them as they go. It is earth-shaking and dream-crushing and horrible in every way imaginable.

And it is worth every single second— every beat of their heart, every whispered prayer, every ounce of love given, every time you held their hand, every tear shed, every smile, every kiss, every lullaby and every single time they looked at you with soulful eyes, and told you in their own way, 'I love you, too.' They are worth it all.

Take it from me.

Choose the harder path. Love until you feel like your heart has given all it has, and then give a little more."

Embracing Life While In Palliative Care

"When you come to the end of your life, how do you mark it's last moments?

This short documentary,Embracing Life, aims to take away the stigma attached to death and dying.

Talking to patients in palliative care, the creators of the film enable conversations about how people feel about approaching the end of their life.

'The aim of the project has been to help build the capacity of communities to talk about death and dying, loss and grief, so that those living with a terminal disease can be better supported,' Sam Kelly from Calvary Health Care Bethlehem told The Huffington Post Australia.

The patients interviewed in this film give an incredibly positive perspective on what it's like to face death.

'Once I accepted that death was to come, I've just held everyday and I try to live it to the fullest,' said Tony Steele.

Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me

"It is the reason a neighbor knocked on our door to tell my husband that everything happens for a reason.

'I’d love to hear it,' my husband said.

'Pardon?' she said, startled.

'I’d love to hear the reason my wife is dying,' he said, in that sweet and sour way he has.

My neighbor wasn’t trying to sell him a spiritual guarantee. But there was a reason she wanted to fill that silence around why some people die young and others grow old and fussy about their lawns. She wanted some kind of order behind this chaos. Because the opposite of #blessed is leaving a husband and a toddler behind, and people can’t quite let themselves say it: 'Wow. That’s awful.' There has to be a reason, because without one we are left as helpless and possibly as unlucky as everyone else".

When Your Loved One Is Ready for #Hospice Care - and You Aren't. #HPM

“And I had a lot of questions about hospice care, including whether I could stop it if I changed my mind later. (He told me I could stop it at any time, for any reason, and that if I changed my mind again I could resume the services.) The conversation was incredibly stressful. At one point I realized I was holding my breath.

After answering all my questions, Doug looked at me kindly and said, ‘You know, Marie, the real question for the caregiver is how to help the patient have the highest possible quality of life in the time that is remaining.’

That completely changed my thinking about the situation. It gave me a new and positive goal - to bring Ed as much happiness as possible. It led me to think about all the special things I could do for Ed -- visiting him more often, taking my little Shih Tzu to see him, having that violinist come back and play another concert, reading to him from the newspaper, and buying him even more of the stuffed animals he loved so much.”