Community Grief

Community Grief (also known as Collective Grief) is when a group of people experience a death or loss that impacts them communally and broadly. Community grief can be experienced at our local community level, as a region, as a country, or we can be impacted as a global community.

Community grief can occur after a community has experienced a death of a well known member of their community, following natural disasters, accidents such as the Humboldt bus accident, or mass loss of lives such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

We do not need to know the person individually to experience community grief. We experience community grief because we feel a connection to the person(s) who have died. They may have been a community member who was part of our daily commute for years, a celebrity whose story resonates with you, or we may grieve for those closely impacted who are grieving their loved ones.

We never have to be alone in our grief, and gathering in community can be one way to honour our grief as a community. On this page you will find videos of community members talking about their experiences of community grief.

Content Funded By

Municipality of Port Hope logo

Municipality of Port Hope

We are thankful for the Community Grant funding through the Municipality of Port Hope.

Community Grief-Related Blog

snow-covered pine needles

Calls to Care, Calls to Action: Bearing Witness to Global Catastrophic Loss of Life and Traumatic Events

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We bear witness to stories of mass loss of lives, stories of families in Gaza being forced from their land, loss of culture and traditions, and countless other ways systems of colonization and oppression can contribute to other non-death losses those who are directly affected currently and have historically faced. As we discussed in a previous article, we can also experience collective grief following natural disasters, accidents, international conflict, and acts of violence that have resulted in catastrophic loss of lives.

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

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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 photo of the reflection room, a table with writing supplies and a red cloth hanging on the wall with a tree and peoples' written memories and reflections on grief posted on the sheet around the tree.

The Reflection Room® project: How storytelling supports processing grief

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The Reflection Room project is an evidence-based participatory art installation that was developed by researchers at the SE Research Centre and Memorial University in 2016. The project included a research component that evaluated the impact of Reflection Rooms as the project adapted over time to address changing needs.

a lilac is stuck in the sand of the beach at a memorial.

What I know about grief

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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.

Community Grief-Related Videos

ALL PANDEMIC VIDEOS
  • ALL PANDEMIC VIDEOS

Kim – Facebook and connecting

Kim – Facebook and connecting

Kim - discussses our need to connect and how Facebook was useful after her Mum's death

Christian – Language around those pushed to the margins

Christian – Language around those pushed to the margins

Christian talks about how people who are pushed to the margins are not discussed as part of our community and how we need to include them. As a community how do we care for our neighbours and how do we mourn the loss of our neighbours

Nicole – Pandemic Leads to Increase in Drug Poisoning

Nicole – Pandemic Leads to Increase in Drug Poisoning

Nicole discusses the increase in drug poisonings during the pandemic due to a number of factors.

Keith – “Disenfranchised Grief”

Keith – “Disenfranchised Grief”

Keith describes disenfranchised grief.

Christian – “Remembering together in a meaningful way”

Christian – “Remembering together in a meaningful way”

Christian discusses the power of memories.

Nicole – Grieving as a community

Nicole – Grieving as a community

Nicole discusses the power of grieving together as a community. Finding connection and trust.

Jacqueline – How to help a grieving friend

Jacqueline – How to help a grieving friend

Jacqueline discusses the power of just being there with someone in grief

Nicole – Using Art and Creativity to Express Grief

Nicole – Using Art and Creativity to Express Grief

Nicole discusses the work she does to allow access to creative outlets such as art hives and gardening.

Michele – Normalizing conversations around death dying grief and loss

Michele – Normalizing conversations around death dying grief and loss

Michele discusses grief literacy, the importance of talking and that dying is a part of life

Nicole – Pandemic’s Effect on Safe Spaces and Mental Health Access

Nicole – Pandemic’s Effect on Safe Spaces and Mental Health Access

Nicole discusses how the pandemic affected access to safe spaces and shelters for those living rough and living with addiction.