There is no one way to grieve the loss of a loved one.
Susanne Lamb, coordinator of bereavement services at the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society, says many people reach out to her for help, but she is concerned about seniors in the community who have experienced the loss of a friend or loved one, who keep their feelings inside.
That’s why she is hosting a talk on the subject at the Maple Ridge Public Library on Feb. 4.
“I find that I do get older people in but I don’t get a lot of older seniors, just because I think it’s generational in the sense of how they were brought up. You just carry on with things, you put a smile on your face and you basically just carry on, as a family, as an individual,” said Lamb.
Lamb said the feeling of grief is difficult to bring up, especially when it is an end-of-life situation.
“Because we don’t want that reminder, especially if somebody is ill or aging. We don’t want to think this is eventually going to be the outcome,” she said.
She also acknowledged that it depends on the circumstances of the person: whether the person wants to talk about it in the first place, whether they are ill themselves, and what their relationship is with their family.
But, the bereavement specialist wants to urge those dealing with those feelings to bring the topic up “gently” with family and friends, to be as honest as possible and see what the outcome is.
She also wants to remind those who may need extra help or those who do not have the support of family that the hospice society is there for them.
Anyone going through grief over the loss of a loved one can make an appointment, no referral is needed.
“What we do is make an appointment, they come in and we basically just have a chat,” said Lamb.
She will talk about what is going on with them, what they are feeling and see where they are at. Then they can start with one-on-one support or a group session like the society’s relaxation circle.
The free service can also be accessed if the person is dealing with someone who has a serious illness that will result in death, or someone who is undergoing palliative care.
And, said Lamb, if there is a physical reason why a person would not be able to make it to the hospice office, then Lamb can go to them. She said they have a group of trained volunteers who can visit once or twice a week to have one-one-one conversations with them.
Lamb ultimately just wants anyone, including seniors, to have a chat with someone about the way they are feeling when they have lost someone and to know that what they are experiencing is normal.
She wants them to know that they are not alone.
”Grief is a personal and very unique journey for each of us. No one grieves the same.”
The free discussion called Journey of Grief and Loss takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Feb. 4 at the Maple Ridge library, 22470 Dewdney Trunk Rd. Register: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-786-7404.