Grief

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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From Diagnosis to Bereavement: Engaging the Public Across the Continuum

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Excited to present "From Diagnosis to Bereavement: Engaging the Public Across the Continuum" at the 2018 Partners in Care: Central West Palliative Care Network Annual Conference. 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
1. Consider systems challenges impacting care of people facing dying and loss;
2. Examine psychosocial implications for individuals, families and healthcare providers facing illness, grief and bereavement; 
3. Explore compassionate community events as essential opportunities to engage the public following a life-limiting diagnosis through to bereavement. 

For more information, or to register, please visit: http://cwpcn.ca/en/annual-conference/

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)

Joe Primo on Supporting Grieving Children

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"There is a cultural narrative that tells us that bad things don’t happen to good people. As a result, we spend a lot of time protecting kids from natural life events, like death."

Source: Joe Primo on Supporting Grieving Children. Option B

 

Parenting Through Illness & Grief

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"This one page handout provides an overview of the findings from a research study of parent caregivers. The study was conducted as a collaboration between Dr. Jay Children`s Grief Centre and the Nanny Angel Network" 

Source: Parenting Through Illness & Grief. Canadian Virtual Hospice

Camp Erin: Where Children and Teens Learn to Grieve and Heal

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Am honoured to volunteer with Camp Erin. It is indeed a remarkable community and one that nurtures capacity in children and youth to grieve the death of a loved one.

"Children and teens ages 6-17 attend a transformational weekend camp that combines traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support, free of charge for all families. Led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, Camp Erin provides a unique opportunity for youth to increase levels of hope, enhance self-esteem, and especially to learn that they are not alone.

Camp Erin is offered in every Major League Baseball city as well as additional locations across the U.S. and Canada. The Moyer Foundation partners with hospices and bereavement organizations to bring hope and healing to thousands of grieving children and teens each year.

Camp Erin allows youth to:

  • Tell their story in a safe environment
  • Process grief in healthy ways
  • Meet friends facing similar circumstances
  • Learn they are not alone
  • Build a tool-box of coping skills
  • Honor and memorialize loved ones
  • Have fun!"

Source: Camp Erin. The Moyer Foundation 

For information on Camp Erin locations in Ontario, please visit: Camp Erin Hamilton; Camp Erin Toronto; Camp Erin Eastern Ontario; Camp Erin Montreal

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On Talking About the Hard Things of Life @racheltoalson

“We are taught to believe that strength and perseverance and hope do not include brokenness. But that’s simply not true. Our brokenness, our sadness—they are the precursors to becoming strong and mighty. We step into our cracks and we kneel down and we pour our attention on them, and that is what becomes the superglue that puts us back together.

We do this alone and we do it together.

When we turn away and hide our sadness or our mess or the hard places in our lives, apologizing that we can’t get it together, what we’re doing is denying others the opportunity to step into our cracks with us. To come alongside us and say, Hey, you’re not alone. To take our broken pieces and and glue them back into place.

The opposite of turning away is turning toward. I know that sounds obvious. But what exactly is turning toward in a situation like this one?

It’s acknowledging our sadness, however deep it goes. It’s talking about our sorrow, however founded or unfounded it may be. It’s sharing our pain, our sickness, our burdens with one another and healing together—whether that together is with friends, family or people you just met who share your own pain or sickness or the kind of burdens you carry.

Maybe some won’t always take our brokenness the right way. Maybe sometimes they’ll call us names or shame us or make us feel like we’ve done the exact thing we should never have done. But the only way to survive the hard places is to open them to the light. The only way back to strength is to acknowledge how this thing has weakened us. The only way out is through the cracks.”

Treating troubled family dynamics reduces complicated grief

“Professor David Kissane, who heads the department of psychiatry at Monash University in Melbourne, has developed a family-focussed model of grief therapy to prevent complicated bereavement. A trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology earlier this year found the therapy reduced the severity of complicated grief in high-risk families and the development of prolonged grief disorder.

Professor Kissane says bereavement therapy for families is more effective than therapy for individuals when grief is being perpetuated by dysfunctional family relationships. He says the most common family configuration he sees is parents and their children, but for some families it includes a neighbour, grandparents or aunts and uncles.

‘Family centred care is based on the idea that families that grieve together stay together and they heal their grief very well,’ he tells Palliative Matters.”

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.”

Grief: Special Days and Holidays. @VictoriaHospice

"After someone dies, you may find that your grief surfaces again and again. Often this seems to happen ‘out of the blue’ and it may feel like an unwelcome intrusion. You may have been enjoying yourself one moment and then be in tears the next. You may also notice that certain days, holidays or public events are more likely or return..."

~Grief: Special Days and Holidays

Tips for Coping with Grief at the Holidays @WhatsYourGrief

"Because the holidays are tough for all of us, the least we can do are share our tips and tricks with one another to make the season just a smidge more tolerable." ~What's Your Grief

Fraying at the Edges. A Life-changing diagnosis. #Alzheimer's @nytimes

“The Taylors hated the stealth that encased the disease, how it was treated like an unmentionable cousin. They wanted no part of that. Ms. Taylor decided that she would not show herself as some spackled-over person. “It was my decision to let the disease be alive in my life,” she said. “You don’t have to just throw in the towel.”

She didn’t know the order of whom she would tell, nor how to phrase something so shackled with frightful connotations. Your life becomes a script. Alzheimer’s, she knew, leaves its heavy imprint on everyone… 

Just recently, Ms. Taylor had discovered the website To Whom I May Concern, the creation of Maureen Matthews, a psychiatric nurse. It arranges for people in the early stage of dementia to act out plays telling what it is like for them. Ms. Taylor clicked on some videos, at once felt the common spirit. The person saying, ‘People take that diagnosis and assume that you are now officially irrelevant.’ And: ‘It’s not that we want people to treat us as if we have Alzheimer’s. But at the same time we want people to recognize that we have it. Confusing, right? Welcome to our world.’ And: ‘The end stage is our future. But not today’.”

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.”

How To Support A Young Person Through Grief

“This early interaction with death is overwhelming, but a pivotal point for learning. This grief acts as a blueprint for not just how these young people process death, but their approach to the many challenges they will face in life.

If you are struggling to help a teenager with their grief, know that your concern is evidence of your care. There is nothing that can make this not awful, so don't make your aim to stop the tears, but rather to support them in what they need. Respecting their needs shows them that you believe in their ability to know what's best for themselves. You're doing good.”

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.”

The Unexpected #Grief Of The Unknowing

"Through all my self-doubt, and the grief I still experience, I am comforted knowing my mom knew my heart. She understood (more than I could have at the time) how typical, though ill-timed, my behavior was. Nothing changes a mother’s love."

How We #Grieve: the Messiness of #Mourning and Learning to Live with #Loss. @meghanor

“It’s not a question of getting over it or healing. No; it’s a question of learning to live with this transformation. For the loss is transformative, in good ways and bad, a tangle of change that cannot be threaded into the usual narrative spools. It is too central for that. It’s not an emergence from the cocoon, but a tree growing around an obstruction.”