Q: What are the Benefits of Peer Support?
A: Grief tends to isolate individuals. It is often difficult to talk to close friends and family members because emotional pain is very hard to articulate. In grief we experience a range of emotions – disbelief, intense sorrow, numbness, anxiety, irritability, anger, shock, depression, even guilt. These emotions aren’t easy to understand or express, even for people who are emotionally aware. But grief affects more than one’s emotional and psychological well-being; it affects every area of life, manifesting in debilitating physical symptoms as well. Grieving parents can experience fatigue, lethargy insomnia, a loss of appetite, even illness as a result of depressed immune systems. Knowing that others understand what one is going through can be an immense source of solace at a very dark and confusing time.
Q: How Long will it Take me to Get Over my Loss?
A: The truth is that families never get over the death of a child; rather, they learn to live with the memories. That is where BFO can help. We are the bereaved helping the bereaved. BFO facilitators know personally that they cannot protect someone from experiencing pain, but that they can support the person through it. BFO helps with all aspects of grieving, providing people with the guidance, education and support they need when it is most needed.
Q: Do Men and Women Grieve Differently?
A: Often men experience difficulty expressing their feelings, even under normal circumstances. Grief, then, can be especially isolating for men, who might feel constrained to show their emotions openly. Moreover, our work and success-driven world doesn’t necessarily accommodate the grieving process. In the words of one father, “There is an expectation in the working world that you must compartmentalize your personal feelings and keep them separate from your workplace.”
Q: Should Children be Shielded from the Subject of Death?
A: When a family member dies, a child’s world is turned upside down. The death of a parent in particular is “the most elemental loss that a child can experience” writes psychotherapist and grief counsellor Beth Patterson. They will need special support as they experience emotions that they may not be able to identify much less understand. Our T.L.C. for Kids program allows bereaved girls and boys who have lost a parent, sibling or other family member to come together, in a structured setting, to deal with their emotions and experiences. Because shielding children from the subject of death will deprive them from the ability to grieve and thus heal, the goal of T.L.C. is to ensure that each child is able to work through the trauma so that ultimately he or she will enjoy a healthy, well-adjusted future.
Q: Does BFO Charge for Services?
A: All of our services are provided free of charge, yet acquiring the necessary funding to run our programs continues to be a challenge. We are very proud of these programs, because each one separately addresses a specific need, while together they offer a supportive and caring network for the bereaved and their families. BFO needs your support and your generosity so that we may continue to offer this programming, By helping BFO, you are telling the bereaved families of Hamilton and Burlington that they matter to you, that they are not alone in their journey.