This section looks at ways that people can support one another through the grieving process. It gives particular attention to the experience of grieving in the context of a community of ‘differently-abled’ individuals. It includes L’Arche Canada’s 2013 “Grief Support Kit” of 3 documents (Manual, Journal and Backgrounder) for facilitating such groups with people who have an intellectual disability.
The Manual sets out basic principles and ground rules, suggestions for getting started, weekly goals and a detailed plan and worksheets for a 7-week Grief Support Group with 5-6 people who have an intellectual disability. Each facilitator of the Grief Support Group should have a copy of this Manual.
The background document describes the origins of L’Arche’s work on Grief Support and what it has learned over several years. Facilitators should read this document.
Each member of the group should have a copy of My Grief Support Group Journal. It describes the theme and preparation for each of the seven weeks that the group will meet. Group members should bring their Journal to each meeting.
The following power point accompanies the article “Grieving in the Context of a Community of Differently-abled People” and contains some of the experience and wisdom gained as people with disabilities and « assistants » live and share life together in L’Arche.
This article by Jane Powell comes out of the experience of grieving in the context of a community of “differently-abled” individuals. It includes 7 steps to prepare for the loss of a loved one, what is helpful at the time of death, and supporting one another after death.
We each have our own journey of mourning to travel. This power point, by Christine Hodgson and Pippa Hall of the Institute of Palliative Care-University of Ottawa guides us through the journey.
Funeral Cooperatives Of Quebec (La Gentiane) (French)
Local Memorial Societies and Funeral Cooperatives
Books Beyond Words (any language)
Series of very well- illustrated pictorial books that can be used for any language:
Loss and Learning Disability (Noelle Blackman) ISBN 1-903269-02-4 (English)
La Peine des Sans Voix: L’accompagnement des Déficients Intellectuelles en Deuil (Marielle Robitaille) ISBN 9782922762372 Editions Académie Impact
Aimer, Perdre et Grandir (Jean Monbourquette) ISBN 9782895079408 Editions Bayard
“A Letter of Consolation” (Henri Nouwen) ISBN 0060663148
Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring (Henri Nouwen) ISBN 978-0-06-180026-9
Helping Adults with Mental Retardation Grieve a Death Loss (Charlene Luchterhand and Nancy Murphy) ISBN-10:1560327685
“On Grief and Grieving: Finding the meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss
(Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler) ISBN 0743266293
« Don’t be afraid to grieve your losses.
They are the signposts of our lives, after which we are never the same.
Loss can so often be the first step towards something better-either around us or within us”.
Joan Chittister, Gospel Days