Sarah Smith is a bereavement worker with 100 Mile Hospice. (Kelly Sinoski - 100 Mile Free Press).

‘Grief never goes away’: Hospice seeks to add programs

Growing demand for bereavement services in the South Cariboo region.

When her parents died within months of each other last year, Louise Crothers felt overwhelming grief.

But the death of her older brother later in the fall was “the kicker” that led to her seek some help from the 100 Mile Hospice bereavement support program.

“I was just kind of hoping to get some support and I did,” said Crothers, who lives in 100 Mile House. “It was awesome.”

Sarah Smith, Hospice bereavement coordinator, said there is a growing demand for bereavement services in the South Cariboo region, noting they are carrying more than 75 clients and “that’s just the people who have the courage to find us and come through the door.”

The Hospice bereavement program is free of charge and supports people as they navigate their recent or past losses. It is available to anyone who has lost a loved one, recently or otherwise and needs help coping with the grieving process. During the pandemic, the program has been meeting in smaller groups to reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

For Crothers, the program allowed her to talk about her losses and share memories. While putting together scrapbooks and memory boxes, the group was able to share stories of their loved ones and talk about everyday things. At the end of every meeting, they lit a candle.

READ MORE: Hospice bolstered by Christmas fundraising

“I knew it was getting easier because it wasn’t as hard,” Crothers said. “We have to carry on, we don’t have any choice about that. But it helped to know there are other people going through the same thing. I got a lot of positives out of it. I was just glad they were available.”

Smith said people are often helped by realizing they’re not alone in the emotions they’re feeling. But while many are helped in the groups, she noted Hospice also has to find ways to reach those who might not be ready to open up to strangers and help normalize their grief.

She would love to offer more programs, especially for youth. The next grief support group will run for six weeks, starting on April 19, while Hospice is planning another Memory Walk, likely in June.

With plans to launch another support group, Hospice has launched a 50/50 draw, which runs until June 21. Only 1,000 tickets, at $50 apiece, are available for the draw, which carries a potential cash prize of up to $25,000.

“The money just goes back into the community in some way, in actual resources,” Smith said. “Grieving is very lonely. The thing with grief is it never goes away. There’s no endpoint to this.”

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