National Bereavement Day

November 21, 2017, marks the first annual National Bereavement Day in Canada. St. Joseph’s Hospice joins the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association by inviting our community to reflect on the importance of relationships past and present, to think about those who have passed away from our lives, and to help advocate for support at the provincial and national levels for grieving Canadians.

In 2017, an estimated 269,000 Canadians will die. With each death, approximately 5 other people are impacted and will experience grief and may benefit from bereavement support.

At St. Joseph's Hospice we recognize that the death of a loved one is a life-altering experience, often accompanied by feelings such as loneliness, longing, sadness, anger, frustration, and numbness. These feelings, while a normal part of the grief process, are extremely difficult to endure, and can sometimes lead to a sense of isolation, anxiety or fear. Grief can also have a profound impact on the day to day functioning of our lives.

Bereavement refers to the state of loss, after a death. Bereavement support includes information and services that help people manage the emotions associated with grief.

Support at St. Joseph’s Hospice includes counseling
, bereavement support groups, wellness programs and complementary therapies.  These services assist people with the physical, emotional, social and spiritual changes that are related to a death.
 
There are different types of support available to assist our clients with their grief. No one kind of support is better than another. There is no rule for which kind of support you should have at any particular time. Needs are extremely personal and based on a variety of circumstances. For some people being outside in nature is helpful; others reach out to their social network for comfort and support, and others prefer to meet with a professional to assist with their emotions surrounding loss.   
 
The holidays can be a difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. The following are some time to help you through the holiday season.
 
Grieving Tips for the Holidays
 
Whether you are celebrating your own traditions or surrounded by the festivities of others, here are some tips for coping with the holidays:
 
1. The holidays can impose a lot of pressure to be cheerful and socially engaged. Take time to acknowledge your emotions as part of a healthy grieving process.
 
2. Work with friends and family to make plans that can be changed according to your needs.
 
3. Understand that not every past holiday tradition needs to be followed. Continue those that bring you joy and leave those that don't. Remember that you can always do things differently next year.
 
4. Explore whether or how to hold a place in your celebrations for remembering or honouring your loved one.
 
5. Simplify and delegate holiday responsibilities wherever and whenever you feel overwhelmed.
 
6. Remember to rest and slow down or stop when needed. Grieving is hard work that requires a lot of energy.
 
7. Expect your feelings to change, perhaps without much warning. Give yourself permission to cycle through these feelings.
 
8. Think about how you will respond to others when they express joy and excitement about the season and offer holiday good wishes.
 
9. Talk with other bereaved people to learn about how they've coped with such seasons and holidays. 

For more information about our Grief and Bereavement Programs, please click here or contact:

Teresa Bryant, RP
Grief and Bereavement Services Lead
519-931-3472 (direct line)
519-438-2012 ext. 224
teresa.bryant@sjhospicelondon.com