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