A Traumatic Loss Grief Support Group is a safe environment where friends and family members can experience understanding, support, compassion and hope. The group is for individuals and families who have had a loved one die suddenly in ways including, but not limited to, suicide, homicide, accident, substance use, or physical illness. Our Traumatic Loss Grief Support Group meets once per week for eight sessions and is offered by Chilliwack Hospice Society throughout the year as necessary.
When someone you love dies by suicide, homicide, or accident, it is a death caused by an external action unlike many other types of death. Violent death often becomes a public story with family members having to explain “who, what, when, where, and why.” Often the focus on the violent dying of a loved one prevents the remembering of their living (Rynearson, E., 2001. Retelling Violent Death. New York: Routledge).
Death by violence can lead to many questions:
- Why did this happen?
- How do I create remembrance?
- How do I talk about this loss?
- How do I deal with the reactions of friends?
- How will I carry on?
- Will I ever fully understand what happened?
A support group is a place where people can give and receive emotional and practical support. It is:
- A place to connect with others who are grieving in an informal setting;
- A time to share your feelings of loss with others;
- An opportunity to increase your awareness and understanding of grief process;
- A place to share resources for grief support;
- A time to explore your own strengths and coping abilities.
The Journey of Grief
The death of a loved one tears us apart and our lives are changed forever. We must be gentle with ourselves and build the strength and courage necessary to do our grief work.
Sharing our stories with others who understand is the first step toward healing.
Each of us has the capacity to find inner peace and growth on our own personal grief journey.
Working through your grief involves three tasks:
Accepting the Reality of Loss
Initially you may feel a sense of numbness, disbelief and shock that the death has actually occurred. Then an ongoing learning process will begin for you to accept that your loved one is no longer physically present or part of your daily activities.
Experiencing the Pain of the Loss
While it is normal to try to avoid emotional pain, it is essential to allow yourself to experience it to successfully work through the grief process. Sadness, anger, guilt or despair may come upon you at unpredictable times. Special occasions, music and birthdays may cause a flood of feelings. These feelings should be suppressed but recognized and expressed as they are part of the painful process of saying goodbye.
Reinvesting in Life
As you work through the pain of your grief, you will begin to have more energy and the desire to reconnect with the world. With time, you will be able to refocus your attention and energy on living today and planning for tomorrow. You will want to get involved again with friends and activities and will experience pleasure doing so. The past is not forgotten; your love for the person who died remains forever within you.