Family

Function in the Midst of Dysfunction: Supporting Families Facing Serious Illness

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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/

FREE family support group when a child has been diagnosed with cancer

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Am honoured to be co-facilitating this FREE support group for families when a child has been diagnosed with cancer.

Each evening session begins with community-building and a light dinner is provided for all in attendance. This family support group at Wellspring is professionally facilitated and provides an opportunity for parents of children with cancer to connect for mutual support, for the sharing of ideas, for discussion and for networking. While the parents meet, the children (ages 5-13) will meet simultaneously in a separate group and focus on themed therapeutic activities designed to assist with their psychosocial needs.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Mon Mar 18, 2019: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  • Mon Mar 25, 2019: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  • Mon Apr 1, 2019: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  • Mon Apr 8, 2019: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Registration is Required. Please note: This program requires a commitment for families to attend all sessions. For information, or to register, please contact 905-257-1988 or 1-877-499-9904.

Free Family Event Celebrating Life, Death and Meaningful Connections

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Grief and Loss impacts Everyone.

Am honoured to co-host and co-facilitate this free public event. In support of Children's Grief Awareness Day and National Bereavement Day, "The 100% Certainty Project – Death: Something to Talk About" is hosting a FREE public event for parents and children at the Hamilton Public Library. Please join us for:

- a reading of the children’s book The Funeral by Matt James, award-winning Author

- a creative family activity exploring grief, loss and meaningful connections

- grief and bereavement resources from Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association & Canadian Virtual Hospice

CBC Books on The Funeral: "This sensitive and life-affirming story will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who have gone before us"

Please note, this is not a counselling session or grief support group.

While this is a free event, registration is REQUIRED via:  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/free-public-event-for-parents-and-children-on-grief-and-bereavement-tickets-50531981517

The Gift of a Hug for a Grieving Child or Teen

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Receiving a #Hug from a loved one is an incredible connection. Giving hand-knitted Hugs to #grieving #kids and #teens facing the dying or death of a loved one is a wonderful gift.

These #knitted Memory Scarves were made by #volunteers with Canadian Virtual Hospice in support of KidsGrief.ca providing a loving Hug and free resources to grieving kids, teens and families facing dying, grief and loss.

For more information, please visit: http://kidsgrief.ca/

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Camp Erin Hamilton (June 8th-10th). An extraordinary free bereavement camp for kids and teens

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So excited for Camp Erin Hamilton (June 8th-10th) with Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice and The Moyer Foundation!

Am truly honoured to be the Clinical Director for Camp Erin Hamilton, a FREE weekend bereavement camp for children and teens (ages 6- 17) grieving the death of someone close to them (a parent, caregiver or sibling). Campers participate in FUN, traditional camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support, led by bereavement professionals and trained volunteers.

To learn more, to donate, to volunteer or refer a grieving child or teen, please visit: https://kemphospice.org/camp-erin

Communication and Connection for Families Coping with Cancer

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I am honoured to have been a guest on this week’s VoiceAmerica - Live Internet Talk Radio Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio Network. Becky Olson and Sharon Henifin of Breast Friends of Oregon, both breast cancer survivors and thrivers have asked me to be their guest to discuss "Communication and Connection for Families Coping with Cancer", demystifying Palliative Care and highlighting the need to support individuals and families of all ages, from time of diagnosis through to bereavement. At the conclusion of our episode, I highlighted the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association as sources of information for people wanting to learn more about Palliative Care in the U.S. and Canada.

Breast Friends is a nonprofit organization started by Sharon and Becky so that no woman would feel alone on her journey and to provide needed resources to those facing the challenge of breast cancer, as well as to their families and friends. Please visit their website for more information: www.BreastFriends.org.

This episode aired live and is now archived at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/106520/communication-and-connection-for-families-coping-with-cancer

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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)

National #Family #Caregiver Day.

"On the first Tuesday of April, Canadians come together to recognize family members, friends, neighbours and other significant people who take on a caring role to support someone with a diminishing physical ability, a debilitating cognitive condition or a chronic life-limiting illness.  Known as National Family Caregiver Day or National Carer Day, this special day encourages all Canadians to pay tribute and recognize the valuable contribution of family caregivers to our lives and our society as a whole."#Family

Navigating Grief and Loss as an Autistic Adult.

"The deaths I have experienced have mostly been at an arm’s length, due to family tensions, geographical separation, or a combination thereof.  Until recently, I’d only ever been to one viewing — a member of my stepmother’s family whom I barely knew.

As a result, I have no blueprint for the what to expect in the social situations that have come with an event like this.  I have been forced to guess my way through, at a time when my typical abilities are compromised by the emotional overload brought about by loss and grief. How well have I done? I honestly do not know.  I don’t know what standard I’m being held to, and by whom.  I have had to simply do my best, but I have been haunted by my struggle to know exactly what I need to do to be a good friend to someone who is no longer here to tell me what she expects".

Memoirs of a Griever.

"In writing this I have struggled to find a structure for the narrative to follow; grief has no structure, and it cannot be read. It is as C.S. Lewis cites in A Grief Observed:

“In grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?”

Henceforth, this piece will be structured by feeling. If it feels disorienting as you read, that’s because loss is disorienting. If it feels confusing, that’s because loss is confusing. If it feels uncomfortable, that’s because loss is uncomfortable. But, as I have found, and as I am finding on my best days, if I can sit with the disorientation, confusion, and discomfort of loss long enough, it can lead me to a greater appreciation of life and that the spiral C.S. Lewis describes can indeed bend towards the sun.

So let’s give it a red-hot go".

Advice: What to say – and not say – to a friend who is recently bereaved.

"WE’VE ALL BEEN in a situation where we wanted to say something supportive to a person who has recently been bereaved.

Many of us will have also avoided a bereaved person out of fear: Either not knowing what to say or worrying about putting our foot in it by saying the wrong thing.

There are many aspects of grief and bereavement that people feel uncomfortable with and shy away from. But we don’t have to run away from someone who has just lost a loved one – we’re actually quite good at coming up with the right words. And, sometimes, the worst thing to do is saying nothing at all".