The pain of grieving without gathering

This past year spent in isolation has taken a toll on all of us. 

Hospice house WEB SIZE.jpgBut for those who have lost loved ones, it’s taken much more. 

And part of that loss has been the inability to mark the passing of those lives by being together. 

So many are grieving, but without the tools to cope. 

That’s why support from places like Cowichan Hospice are so critical right now. 

With the help of United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Response Fund, Cowichan Hospice has been able to continue to offer free bereavement services in new ways. 

These include a grief support group, one-to-one services, and wellness treatments, as well as providing palliative support to individuals and families, both in community and at Cowichan Hospice House. 

Though some choose to go without these supports, know that you don’t have to. Because it helps.  

It helped Gregg. 

“Following the death of my wife of 50 years, Linda, my initial response was that I could cope,” says Gregg, “which I did well enough I think, until a friend asked if I’d considered bereavement counselling.” 

Gregg reached out to Cowichan Hospice. 

“Since then, I have had four meetings with a trained volunteer and in that short time have arrived at a clearer understanding of my bereavement and my future.” 

Speaking about denial, anger, guilt and acceptance, Gregg says he began to feel that he and Linda were still in a relationship, which he says surprised him, though it didn’t surprise his family or friends. 

“Then I read the following affirming statement in C.S. Lewis’s book, A Grief Observed: ‘bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love. It follows marriage as normally as marriage follows courtship or as autumn follows summer. It is not a truncation of the process but one of its phases: not the interruption of the dance, but the next figure.’” 

Through this, and Cowichan Hospice’s help, Gregg says he grew to accept that his relationship with his wife could continue, though it had changed. 

“I see the future as holding more hope than despair, something I may not have seen without counselling, so thank you to my friend and to Cowichan Hospice.” 

These kinds of supports have never been more necessary. 

With the help of United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island, Cowichan Hospice has adapted its services to the reality of the pandemic, and is there for those stuck in grief. 

If you are going through grief and are in need of support, please reach out to your local hospice. Their services can make such a difference. 

United Way CNVI is making sure services like this are funded, thanks to our caring donors. If you can, please consider donating today. 

If you need help, please call 2-1-1, and a bc211 Navigator will direct you to services near you.