The program team at St. Joseph’s Hospice is opening up its holiday grief support event to the public.
“This is the first time we’ve actually taken the event offsite to allow for more people, and we’ve made it open to the public. You don’t necessarily have to be one of our clients to come,” said Orley Culverhouse, coordinator for the Caring Hearts Children’s Program, which serves local children and teens age six to 18, who have experienced the death of a loved one. “We’re hoping for a good turnout and to use this as a way to let people know what we have to offer.”
The event, Coping Through the Holidays, will be held Dec. 11 at the Holiday in from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Families with children who have experienced loss, will participate in memorial gingerbread house decorating and a community commemorative candle-lighting. Information and resources on how to get through the holiday season will also be provided.
“The holidays can be a really difficult time for people, so the biggest thing we can do is just to be prepared and think ahead,” said Culverhouse. “What traditions are really important and we want to keep? What traditions do we want to change or get rid of altogether? Give yourself permission to do that, and make that plan ahead of time with family.”
The Hospice program team serves between 400 and 500 clients annually at no charge, in addition to providing outreach and education in the community.
Culverhouse said the most important thing for grieving families to do is find a way to honour the person who has died.
“When someone dies, their body dies, but our relationship with them does not,” she said. “And so much of what we do at the Hospice is just encouraging people to continue that relationship with that person.”
A separate grief support for adults will be held in partnership with the Central Lambton Family Health Team at Lambton Meadowview Villa on Dec. 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Interested participants can RSVP at 519-882-2500.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Coping through the Holidays
WHEN: Dec. 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Holiday Inn, Point Edward
DETAILS: RSVP at 519-337-0537 ext. 123 by Dec. 3