On the third Tuesday in November each year, Chilliwack Hospice Society joins organizations across Canada in recognizing National Grief and Bereavement Day. Join us on November 21 as we honour, show respect for, and advocate for those who are experiencing grief, bereavement, anticipatory grief, and chronic sorrow.

Recognizing this significant day gives us an opportunity to share and normalize talking about grief, and to highlight resources that are available to those coping with loss. Grief is the natural and normal response to loss, however grief is often misunderstood. It has no timeline, and it shows up differently for each person. Grief isn’t limited to the loss of a person; we can all experience grief following the loss of a pet, a relationship, or our health and mobility.

Although an individual experience, grieving does not need to be done alone. In their Grief and Bereavement Day campaign, the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association offers several suggestions for ways in which we can support someone who is navigating grief and loss. These include letting them know you’re thinking of them; not assuming what they want or need; acknowledging their loss; and offering practical assistance such as picking up groceries or helping with chores around the house if permitted.

“When connecting with a grieving person, remember you cannot fix their grief,” says Jennifer Dacre, Palliative and Bereavement Services Manager at Chilliwack Hospice Society. “You can, however, walk alongside them on their grief journey with empathy and compassion. Sometimes words aren’t required, but a listening ear is most appreciated.”

Chilliwack Hospice Society offers one-to-one grief support, free of charge, to adults, youth, and children in Chilliwack and the surrounding communities. Additionally, we facilitate many grief support groups throughout the year, including our First Step Grief Support Group and others dedicated to pet loss, sibling loss, traumatic loss, and grieving families.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, November 22, starting at 6:00pm, Chilliwack Hospice Society will host our Annual Memorial Celebration at Vineyard Community Centre, located at 45892 Wellington Avenue. A time of reflection and support in the company of others whose loved one has died, the Annual Memorial Celebration is for everyone who is grieving. This year’s program will focus on creative expressions of grief. Guests are asked to please bring a framed photo of their loved one with them. Light refreshments will be served.

Beginning December 8, look for Celebrate a Life trees at Minter Country Garden and Thrifty Boutique. Celebrate A Life is an opportunity to write a message that’s on your heart onto a personalized butterfly in memory of a loved one on our trees of celebration. Hanging a butterfly on the tree has become a cherished ritual during the holiday season for many bereaved people in our community.

To learn more about the grief support programs and services available at Chilliwack Hospice Society, or to donate in honour of National Grief and Bereavement Day, please call (604) 795-4660 or visit www.chilliwackhospice.org