Food For Thought – April 2019
Submitted by: Michèle Neider, Executive Director
We tend to associate dying with old age. While it may be logical to think that way, unfortunately it is not always the case. As the saying goes: “We do not know our time and day”. At 26 years of age, I received a call on August 11th, 1986 to tell me that my 19-year-old brother had passed away. How could this be possible? I was totally numb and in complete denial. My brother was full of life, he was smart, was studying physics in College, and had a whole future ahead of him. He was in Quebec, I was living in BC.
I packed my bags, flew across the country, drove for another 5 hours to attend my brother’s funeral. It is only when I saw him laying in his coffin that the reality of his death hit me. I could no longer hold the pain inside and just exploded in the funeral parlour sobbing, wondering why it happened to my young, gentle, kind, and beautiful brother.
After returning to Vancouver I tried to share with a few friends, but they could not understand and quickly changed the conversation or stayed away. They had not gone through the experience of losing someone so young yet. They did not know how or did not want to deal with it. In the end, I did what society expected me to do when dealing with loss and grief, that is, suck it up, be strong, don’t talk about it, move on, push it down, and put up a good front.
Move forward 35 years and today I see how the Hospice Society of the Columbia Valley has supported community members for the past 6 years. I wish I would have had known at the time that such an organization existed. I know they would have received me and supported me in my grief. They would have explained to me that what I felt inside was normal and would have walked with me through my grieving process.
Thanks to better research we now have a deeper understanding of the emotional effects that loss (any loss) has on human beings. Researchers now tell us what we have intrinsically known for hundred of years; that we are not meant to grieve alone. We need someone that will listen and will not judge how we feel. Be it anger, resentment, confusion, numbness, shame, or whatever feelings that may come. There is no bravery in ‘stuffing it down’ because people around expect us to move on. A society, a community, or a family is as healthy as it allows people to heal.
Therefore, if you or someone you know is dealing with a loss or is eminently expecting the loss of a loved one, do contact the Hospice Society for assistance. We have programs that help with end of life, bereavement, and one-on-one support. We provide free training to those wanting to volunteer and walk with individuals through their process.
Do you have a story you would like to share?
Give us a call at 778-526-5143 or drop in at #103-926-7 Avenue, Invermere. We will be happy to assist you.