Loss

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/

What Complicated Grief Is Like

"...Today, I can say that, of course, my life was permanently changed by losing Eric, but I know it is possible to make a new life that is rich and satisfying — though often tinged with sadness.

Now I find myself going and doing and functioning, and taking joy in life and its challenges. I never believed that would be possible, but I assure you it is. There are still times, especially good times, when the pain of missing Eric stops me in my tracks. But there are good times.

I believe I have grown in my ability to be compassionate and to understand the pain that others may be experiencing. Once you know the pain of excruciating, incomprehensible loss, you can’t un-know it. But when you endure struggle, you can also learn empathy.

I am sharing this because until I was diagnosed and treated with complicated grief — which I had never even heard of before and which 7 percent of bereaved people struggle with — I felt isolated and like my life had no meaning. I hope my story will reach anyone who’s feeling like that and show them there is hope. I even appeared on CBS to spread the word about complicated grief and help others who may be struggling. The Center for Complicated Grief has a website and can be found here."

What it Really Means to Hold Space for Someone #Grief

"It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."

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’.”

Camp Erin Hamilton. Fun #Camp for #Children and #Youth with #Grief #Support and #Education @moyerfoundation

“Camp Erin Hamilton is an annual three-day camp experience offered at no charge and facilitated by professional staff and trained volunteers of the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice and Bereaved Families of Ontario - Hamilton/ Burlington. The camp is for children ages 6 to 17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them. Camp Erin Hamilton combines a traditional, high-energy, fun camp with grief support and education.”

MyGrief.ca helps you to understand and work through your #Grief. @VirtualHospice

"MyGrief.ca Because losing someone is hard. MyGrief.ca helps you to understand and work through your grief.

  • Confidential
  • Access in the privacy of your own home
  • Developed by families and grief experts
  • Stories from people who have "been there"
  • A resource for professionals"

#Memories of a #Caregiver - Honoring Voices: Walking Alongside The #Caregiver. #hpm

In Part 2 of our "Honored Voices" series, we listen to bereaved caregivers and support professionals and what can be learned from their experience. This video is designed for those who are currently supporting caregivers or those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.

A #Daughter Pays Homage to Her #Parents With an Intimate Look at #Love and #Loss. @nancyborowick #hpm

"One can only truly understand and appreciate life when faced with one’s own mortality. Nobody wants to talk about death, but it is one of the only things that is certain in life, so an awareness of this finitude allowed my family to take advantage of the time we had left together. “Cancer Family, Ongoing” is the story of family, looking at the experiences of two parents who were in parallel treatment for stage four cancer, side by side. The project looks at love and life in the face of death. It honors my parents’ memory by focusing on their strength and love, both individually and together, and shares the story of their final chapters, which came to a close just 364 days apart from one another."

Surrounded by #pain, #doctors turn to poetry, writing to #cope with #loss

"The genre has blossomed as doctors have become more comfortable acknowledging their humanity and vulnerability through prose, said Dr. Paul Gross, the founder and editor in chief of the online journal Pulse, which carries the tagline 'voices from the heart of medicine.'

Doctors deal with so many difficult situations each day, Gross said. “How do you process it? And how do you remain whole as a person?” Writing helps them work through those issues by forcing reflection..."

Cry, Heart, But Never Break: A Remarkable Illustrated Meditation on #Loss and #Life. @brainpickings

"Now comes a fine addition to the most intelligent and imaginative children’s books about making sense of death — the crowning jewel of them all, even, and not only because it bears what might be the most beautiful children’s book title ever conceived: Cry, Heart, But Never Break (public library) by beloved Danish children’s book author Glenn Ringtved and illustrator Charlotte Pardi, translated into English by Robert Moulthrop.

Although Ringtved is celebrated for his humorous and mischievous stories, this contemplative tale sprang from the depths of his own experience — when his mother was dying and he struggled to explain what was happening to his young children, she offered some words of comfort: “Cry, Heart, but never break.” It was the grandmother’s way of assuring the children that the profound sadness of loss is to be allowed rather than resisted, then folded into the wholeness of life, which continues to unfold". 

Let's Go Home. #PhotoGrief

"In my dreams she is still there and nothing has changed except for me.  The house is still messy, paint is chipping, doorknobs are missing, and there are dishes the sink.  My brother and sister have the TV turned up way too loud in the living room and one room my mother is flawlessly playing the piano, totally undisturbed by the commotion going on around her".

Good Grief: Healthy Ways To Help A Child Mourn Their Sibling. ~Crossroads Hospice

"Few things are as powerful as the bond between brothers and sisters. The connection can often seem unbreakable, until tested by tragedy. Without a doubt, when a child loses a sibling, it can prove a very difficult journey. But with love and support, a child can weather this journey in time. 

A guiding presence ensures they process and mourn in a healthy way. While each child’s needs are unique, all parents and guardians can keep these tips in mind when discussing the loss of their sibling".

Click on the photo to access resources on this topic.

Child and Youth Grief Awareness: Resources.

Click on the Butterfly to access resource materials, information and support for grieving Children and Youth.

Children's Grief Awareness Day.

"Children's Grief Awareness Day seeks to bring attention to the fact that often support can make all the difference in the life of a grieving child. It provides an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness of the painful impact that the death of a loved one has in the life of a child, an opportunity to make sure that these children receive the support they need".

Complicated Grief: A Grief So Deep It Won’t Die.

    " 'Adapting to loss is as much a part of us as grief itself,' said Dr. Shear, who directs the Center for Complicated Grief at the Columbia University School of Social Work. With complicated grief, 'something gets in the way of that adaptation, Something impedes the course of healing.’

     By diagnosing complicated grief just six months after a death, he said, 'you’ll get a lot of normal people receiving treatment they don’t need,' including drugs.  Dr. Shear also worries about “pathologizing” normal emotions. But when a woman remains unable to leave her home or answer the phone four years after the death of her adult son, as was true of one patient, something has clearly gone wrong. 

    ‘If you’re worried about what you’re experiencing, if you’re not getting more engaged in life and people around you are saying, ‘Honey, stop wallowing in it,’ why not get some help?' Dr. Shear said.  Complicated grief therapy, developed by her center, showed greater effectiveness among older adults than interpersonal psychotherapy in a clinical trial".

Words of Comfort for Someone Suffering the Loss of a Loved One.

"One of those mornings in particular, I awoke with a hauntingly beautiful piece written by Adam Lee in my mind. At the end of Lee’s essay are two exquisite paragraphs that had been used at a memorial service I attended. I have never forgotten those ever-so-comforting last two paragraphs in Lee’s essay, and when I awoke remembering them, had the distinct feeling that at that very moment there was someone who had lost someone they loved, and who was suffering, and who needed to hear those most incredible, peace-giving words".

The Art of Healing.

"As the parents of Lulu and Leo, we know that art and nature played a critical role in their short, beautiful lives and in the life of our surviving daughter, Nessie. We believe every child on the planet deserves the deep engagement with art, nature, and creativity that our children had, not simply for the sheer joy and excitement it brings children but for the powerful tool it can be. We have felt the critical importance of creativity as a healing force and want to ensure that these creative outlets are available to all children and communities facing adversity.

We created the Lulu & Leo Fund to inspire, engage, educate, heal and grow the hearts and minds of children facing hardships, giving them lifelong passion, skills and — most importantly — hope".

Trauma Workers Find Solace In A Pause That Honors Life After A Death.

"Jonathan Bartels is a nurse working in emergency care. He says witnessing death over and over again takes a toll on trauma workers — they can become numb or burned out. So the next time we worked on another person who didn't make it, I decided to be bold and stop people from leaving," he says. "I just said, 'Can we stop just for a moment, to recognize this person in the bed? You know, this person before they came in here was alive — they were interacting with family, they were loved by others, they had a life.' "

The team did it. Standing together silently, they stopped — just for a minute.

"When it was done, I said, 'Thank you all, and thank you for the efforts that we did to try and save them.' People walked out of the room, and they thanked me," Bartels says.

What's come to be called The Pause is now being taught as part of the curriculum at the university's nursing school. Emergency medical technician Jack Berner says it helps him handle the toughest cases. ‘It makes it so we can actually view the person as a person, rather than as a patient that we see on an everyday basis,’ he says. ‘You can relate more to the case, [knowing] it's somebody's father or their mother, their sister or their uncle, rather than somebody you just see for five minutes’."