Sunday, 18 November 2018

National Bereavement Day 2018

November 15, 2018

National Bereavement Day November 20, 2018

A time to reflect, a time to mourn, a time to come together and share grief experiences. Grief is a
natural part of life and something everyone, at some point, will experience. There are many programs and organizations out there to help you through this process. During the month of November, we share those resources and tools to help those going through the grieving process and encourage others to communicate their stories.

What is Grief

Grief is a strong and powerful emotion and for some people, can be totally debilitating. While it is a natural process that one goes through after loss of a loved one, grief can sometimes be harmful to an individual.

Grief is a process with various stages. You may skip a stage or go through it slowly or quickly. Everyone deals with grief differently and proceeds at their own pace.

7 Stages of Grief

  1. Shock & Denial - Not believing the loss has happened. Shock protects you from overwhelming emotions coming at you all at once. 
  2.  Pain & Guilt - Once the shock subsides a bit, it's normal to feel the sadness and reflect on things you may regret having/not having done which results in feeling guilty. Some will get through this stage quickly, others will take longer. It is important to be open with your feelings and never try to escape them with drugs or alcohol or other addictive and harmful behaviours. 
  3. Anger & Bargaining - Now that you have had time to reflect you may begin thinking others are responsible for the death of your loved one or that they could have done things differently. Remember that things said in anger can be harmful to relationships so while it's important to release your emotions, seek assistance to do so in a productive and non-harmful way.
  4. Depression & Loneliness - So you have worked through your emotions...or so you thought. Now you realize the reality of your situation and feeling lost and alone right now is common. Others may be telling you it's time to move on but don't let them rush you, go about it at your own pace.
  5. Looking Up - This is when intense feelings of sadness, despair and anger begin to abate. You are adjusting to life without your loved one and things are a little more organized than before.
  6. Reconstruction - You realize life without your loved one will require some changes and now you are taking the 'horse by the reins'. This may mean you are beginning to find financial solutions, learn daily activities you may not have known before such as grocery shopping, cooking, yard work etc.
  7. Acceptance & Hope - Finally you come to the last stage of grief. Do not think this stage means happiness and that you will 'over' your sadness. You will always miss and cherish your loved one and you will never be that same person you before you lost them. You are now a new person with new strengths after the challenges you have come through. In this stage you begin to plan for the future and look forward to doing activities again. There will also come a day where you can think of your loved one and smile with fond memories instead of being taken over by sadness but this, too, will come in time.

How to Deal With Grief

There are many ways to deal with grief and again, everyone will deal with grief and loss in their own way on their own terms. You may choose to seek counselling or spend time alone and work through that way. Or you may choose a combinations of therapies that work for you.

1. Acknowledge Your Pain
2. Expect Different Emotions to Arise at Given Times
3. Know the Grief Process Will be Unique for You 
4. Be Open to Support From People in Your Network
5. Take Care of Yourself Physically. Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise - even a brisk walk.

There are many other ways to deal with grief and as you go through your own process you will find what works for you and what doesn't. Some people get involved in volunteer work, others may take up painting or what is right for you and what feels right.

How You Can Spread Awareness

Share your story, encourage others you know to open up about theirs if they are ready. Spread the word on social media and get the word out on November 20th to honour National Bereavement Day.

Gone are the days of not talking about death. Today,  more and more people are open to discussing End of Life and what their preferences are leading up to the final transition. It is ok to talk about death and it's healthy to discuss it as it's a natural part of life. We have all lost someone dear to us, we all have a story to share.

National Bereavement Day reminds us that we are not alone. There is support, there is hope for light in our lives again. Reach out to your local Hospice to see what resources are available to you.

In Airdrie Alberta and surrounding area you can contact the Airdrie & District Hospice Society at

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