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Grief and Disability: Carrie’s Story

It has become clear to me over time that we have much work to do to ensure the delivery of disability-sensitive grief literacy and grief support. In March of 2022 my proposal for four 1-hour sessions was approved, we provided the program for 20 participants. My heart was full in each session.

My heart remains full of hope that conversations, education, and expertise about disability sensitive end of life care and grief support will gain momentum as more and more people join in on this vital conversation.

a birthday cake has fallen alone with it's cake stand. It's broken on the counter. There is a party hat in the shadows on the table behind it.

Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Other Special Days

When we are grieving, some days are more difficult than others. Grief comes in waves like the sea and can feel like an intertwining labyrinth of emotions. Birthdays, anniversaries, and special dates that are associated with our loved one who has died can contribute to more emotionally intense days which can be worsened through the anticipation and “what ifs” of the upcoming day. These difficult days can leave us feeling defeated and it can almost feel like we’ve taken two steps backward in our grieving process, but grief does not have a timeline, and these feelings of setbacks are opportunities for healing.

a rocky beach with a small, greet prout popping through the rocks. You can see the gentle waves of the lake in the background of the image.

When Death Feels like a Thief

In the heart of my grief, at my frailest, all I could see was what was no more. I grieved all that was stolen from me by death; love, security and even my very self. Had I known the value of having every pocket of who I was, picked bare by grief, I would not have fought so hard to hold onto it all.

Yellow wildflowers are partially in sunlight and partially in the shade.

Weathering the Intense Emotions of Grief

Grief often comes with powerful, unpredictable emotional shifts that can be painful to experience. While it’s important to find ways to sit with these feelings, to acknowledge the pain of grief and accept loss, it’s also necessary to find ways to ease and manage the pain. There are several simple activities that you can explore to help.

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What Does Grief Support Look Like?

When we experience significant, on-going symptoms of grief that interfere with our adjustment to the reality of our loss, it can be time to seek professional help. It can be difficult to know where to find help and what grief support options are available.

A close-up shot of small, open flowers. There are red ones behind yellow ones and the sunlight peeks through.

Tending to My Garden of Grief

So long as I remember the lives of those I have lost, honour their presence and impact on me and celebrate their spirit, they will continue to live with me and the pain will feel bearable. It will no longer stop me in my tracks. Instead, it will encourage me and propel me forward through the transmutation of that grief into something different, something more nuanced and fluid. I’d like to share a practice for processing grief which I have found to be especially helpful.

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What I know about grief

The following are some things I know to be true about grief for me, based on my lived experience. Some of them may resonate with you as well. Grief is unique to the people experiencing it in each moment, so please take whatever makes sense to you from this share and leave whatever doesn’t.

Photo by Caroline Taylor

Collective Grief

When the death of a person affects many members in a community, city, country, or across the world, people will experience collective grief.

These are some things that can help people through the experience of collective grief across a community.

faded yellow flowers symbolizing grief.

When Death Comes Suddenly

When someone dies suddenly we often struggle with grief that is raw, unpredictable and powerful.

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Helping Others Help You Through Grief

Post by Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW When you’ve experienced the death of a loved one, one of the most difficult things you will go through is trying to find out what helps you adjust to the loss. This can be compounded when others around you don’t understand what you’re going through, and don’t know how…

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Creativity Helped Me Cope as a Child

Michele King is an End-of-Life Doula and Expressive Arts Grief Support facilitator. She companions people through serious illness and at end of life with a passion for normalizing conversations around death and dying. I can still vaguely remember the day like a fuzzy picture in my mind. I was playing on our front lawn with…

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Getting Comfortable Talking About Grief

Post by Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW Getting Comfortable Talking About Grief There was a time when death was part of everyday life. People didn’t tend to live long, and there was often a great deal of suffering while they were alive. Birth happened in the home, and death often happened there, too. If death happened elsewhere, the…