(Photo: TJ Williams Jr.)

Stories of grief mark need for support

North Okanagan Hospice Society volunteers among those noticing more people seeking help

Everyone has a story about losing a loved one. And today, Nov. 16, you are urged to share it.

Every year, the third Tuesday in November marks the annual National Grief and Bereavement Day in Canada. This year, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association encourages all Canadians to share their experiences with grief.

“Everyone faces grief at some point in their lives, and while it is a universal experience, it remains a deeply personal and unique process that everyone navigates differently,” the CHPCA said.

The ‘When I grieve, I feel…’ campaign is an opportunity to destigmatize the various ways that people cope with grief, because there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

“When we share our journeys together, we no longer need to walk through them alone.”

Stories can be shared on social media using #Grief2021 and #IFeel (in French: #Deuil2021 et #JeRessens) and tag CHPCA on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Lcoally, grief supports are of concern at the North Okanagan Hospice Sovity.

“Our volunteers who reach out to loved ones of clients who have been at Hospice, have noted that there has been in an increase in complexity of their grief, and more are requesting referrals to support to find counselling services to support them,” executive director Lisa Matthews said. “We regularly get requests for support and counselling services from the community through our information email address. These requests are poignant cries for help, and you can tell these people are lost and do not know where to turn.”

Specifically, she says there is a lack of pediatric grief services as parents attend community webinars looking for support for their children and Hospice staff report clients, who are parents, looking for support for their children as they are dying.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders in End-of-Life care predicted a follow up ‘Pandemic of Grief’.

“We have directly experienced the challenges outlined by the Canadian Grief Alliance here in the North Okanagan,” Matthews said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, many traditional supports for grief and bereavement have been disrupted, and the effect of these disruptions on peoples’ grieving process is currently not fully understood.”

A new research study by BCCPC is investigating this very question, seeking to better understand the experiences of people who have lost a loved one during the pandemic and the experiences and operations of bereavement support providers.

READ MORE: Auction highlights need for grief services in North Okanagan

READ MORE: No words to express collective grief: Vernon Mayor on 215 buried at residential school


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