victoria hospice bereavement - summer newsletter

Download Victoria Hospice Bereavement - Summer Newsletter

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A seasonal newsletter, published by Victoria Hospice, to support the recently bereaved.

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  • How will we get throughthe summer?

    As the parent of bereaved children, you may be looking forward to the summer holiday with some uneasiness. You may be wondering how you andyour children will manage without the familiar routines, supports and distractions of school life. The familys usual summer routine, whether that isa family vacation, daycare, summer camps, or staying at home, may not bepossible at this time. If it is available, you may worry that it wont be supportive enough for your bereaved children.

    If you are concerned about how your children will do and what they mightneed over the summer holiday, talk with them. Let them know what yourconcerns are and what you think might be helpful. Discuss your concernswith anyone else who will be caring for the children.

    You are grieving too and you may fear that you wont have the energy or stamina to keep up with your children all day. You may doubt youll havethe patience to deal with their grief as well as your own. If you took the opportunity to fall apart when they were safely at school, you may wonderwhat will happen when they are at home through the summer. Do your bestto make time for yourself in the summer routine.

    The return to school at the end of the summer may be a worry for you.Perhaps your children have been reluctant to go to school or have found it difficult to concentrate in class. Summertime may be a welcome relief. Yourchildren may feel doubly sad and alone if they, or some close friends, are moving on from one school to another. This is another loss. Find out howtheyd like their needs to be addressed and what supports are available to them.

    The following are some suggestions that may help: Schedule regular play dates at a friends house for your children. Ask another parent, friend or family member to be on call for bad days. Collect crafts, books and other activities that your children can enjoy

    without you. Build some grief rituals into the time you spend together (visit the grave,

    plant a tree, look at photos, make a memory book, or write a letter to theperson who died).

    Consult with school counsellors or grief counsellors in your area.

    The Four SeasonsSummer

    1952 Bay Street,Victoria, British Columbia V8R 1J8 www.victoriahospice.orgBereavement Inquiries: (250) 370-8868 Monday to Friday

    V I C T O R I A H O S P I C E B E R E A V E M E N T N E W S L E T T E R

    H E L P F U L I N F O

    Children who are having seriousproblems with grief and loss mayshow one or more of these signs: an extended period of

    depression in which the childloses interest in daily activitiesand events

    inability to sleep, loss of appetite, prolonged fear ofbeing alone

    acting much younger for anextended period

    excessively imitating the deadperson

    repeated statements of wanting to join the dead person

    withdrawal from friends, or sharp drop in school

    performance or refusal to attend school

    For more information about children and grief, go to:http://www.victoriahospice.org/pdfs/ChildrenandGrief.pdf

  • 1952 Bay Street,Victoria, British Columbia V8R 1J8 www.victoriahospice.orgBereavement Inquiries: (250) 370-8868 Monday to Friday

    Summers Unique Challenges Though it is hard to be a bereaved person in any season, summer poses unique challenges. It is often a time of travel and reunions, special events andcelebrations. You may find that everyone around you is preparing with great enthusiasm to enjoy the warmth and sunshine of the summer season.

    As a bereaved person, you may feel quite differently about summer. Your energy may be low and your interest in outdoor activities and travel minimal.You may watch in wonder at how carefree and happy other people seem andmiss the cheerfulness or pleasure you felt in other times. If you get pulledinto the fun of summertime, you may feel guilty for enjoying yourself.Remember that a balance of grief and normal living is healthy and helpful.

    The impact of your loss and the weight of your grief may effect what is important to you right now. Consider your needs and choose carefully those people, activities or events that suit you this summer.

    Rosemary For RemembranceRosemary has been a symbol for remembrance since ancient times. It hasbeen used as a symbol of love and remembrance at both weddings and funerals. For newlyweds, its a symbol of fidelity and a promise not to forgetvows made; for bereaved people, its a symbol of love and a promise not toforget the person who has died.

    On special days or in difficult times you might plant, gather or give sprigsof rosemary as a way of remembering the person who died, your memoriestogether and the impact he or she had on your life.

    Father Figures Three Wise Men Who Changed a Lifeby Michael Sweeney

    This heartfelt memoir detailsSweeneys childhood, adolescence andyoung adulthood growing up in alarge IrishCatholic family after thedeath of his father. Anyone who hasexperienced the death of a parentduring childhood or adolescence,or anyone now single parenting achild will be moved by the youngSweeneys clear and sincere objectiveto find men who could teach himhow to be a father. Sweeneys storydemonstrates not only his lessonsabout fathering, but also how unexpressed grief can shape a person, a family and the future.

    B O O K R E V I E W

    G E T T I N G O U T S I D E

    With the sun shining, you may think about getting outside more often, yetfind yourself staying inside. It may help to explore what prevents you fromventuring outside: Are you nervous about running into people you havent seen? Do you simply feel too sad or tired? Are you uncomfortable with the idea of going out on your own? Do you need to consult with your doctor about health concerns first?Once you are aware of what has been holding you back, you can considerways to address these challenges: Ask a friend to walk with you. Join a walking group. See a counsellor or your family physician for guidance.Thinking about the benefits of being outside may give you some additional motivation or inspiration: Being outside brings you fresh air and valuable Vitamin D, along with

    new perspectives. You may find yourself breathing more deeply and slowly after awhile. You may experience moments of peace, calm, reflection or insight as

    you take in a beautiful view, find a quiet spot or take a brisk hike.Experiment until you find what works best for you.The hardest part is beginning but the journey may hold unexpected gifts.

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