You grieve, I grieve – We all grieve.

National Bereavement Day

November 19, 2019 is National Bereavement Day in Canada. This year’s theme is “Coping with grief, together through living and grieving”.

What’s the difference between grief and bereavement?

Each of us experiences losses and deaths that jar our souls. Grief is our reaction to loss. It manifests in many forms – physically, spiritually, and behaviourally.

Bereavement is the objective event of the loss. The root word of the meaning is “shorn off or torn up”. As DeSpelder and Strickland (2005) suggest, bereavement can be defined as an event that disrupts our lives, but it is also part of normal human experience.

As part of National Bereavement Day, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association wants to shed light on the fact grief and bereavement are a natural part of life and it is important that we “show up and support one another on this journey”.

Showing up for the grieving

What does it mean to show up? It means asking our grieving friend how they are doing and sitting quietly while they share their feelings. It means asking them to go for a walk, out to dinner, or to a movie. Don’t be surprised if it takes time for them to join you.

We’re all just walking each other home. – Ram Dass

Bereavement can often be isolating, so it’s important to let the individual know that you are there – however they may need your presence.

Living with grief

This year’s theme reminds us to continue living our days after a loss. There are times when simply getting out of bed may prove challenging. Let those you love, support you and journey with you.

The Reverend William MacLeod, who gave the meditation at our annual Holiday Memorial Service last week, shared the following message from Rabbi Joshua L. Liebman. It speaks to the need of finding and sharing with friends and accompanying one another through grief. “The melody that the loved one played upon the piano of your life will never be played quite that way again, but we must not close the keyboard and allow the instrument to gather dust. We must seek out other artists of the spirit, new friends who gradually will help us to find the road to life again, who will walk the road with us.”

Seek out other artists of the spirit.

It’s important to take care and be gently with ourselves. Focus on one activity at a time. Make time for healthy, nutritious meals and exercise. Engage with others.

Bereavement support

There are opportunities within our community and online to seek out support. Visit our website for more information.

The staff of MacLean Funeral Home Swan Chapel are here to walk with you.

Check out our other grief-related blog posts.

  1. Grief – what is it and how do we experience it?
  2. Grief resolutions .
  3. What to say to a grieving person.
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