L'Arche Canada | Français


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.

Resources and Links


Funeral Cooperatives Of Quebec (La Gentiane) (French)

  • Support for persons who are mourning
  • Tools for support in bereavement
  • Brochures on shock, denial, disorganization, re-appropriation of life, healing and transformation.
  • Texts, poems, book suggestions

Local Memorial Societies and Funeral Cooperatives

  • Often have good resources (brochures and booklets) on grieving


Books Beyond Words (any language)
Series of very well- illustrated pictorial books that can be used for any language:

  • “When Dad Died” deals with death, grief, burial. “When Mom Died” deals with death, grief and cremation. “When Somebody Dies” deals with grief and exploring emotions.

www.worthpublishing.com :
Loss and Learning Disability (Noelle Blackman) ISBN 1-903269-02-4 (English)

  • addresses how people with developmental disabilities are affected by bereavement, strategies to prevent grief complications

La Peine des Sans Voix: L’accompagnement des Déficients Intellectuelles en Deuil (Marielle Robitaille) ISBN 9782922762372 Editions Académie Impact

  • Introduction by Jean Vanier
  • recognizing symptoms of unresolved grief, strategies of adapted accompaniment, developing made to measure support tools for people with an intellectual disability

Aimer, Perdre et Grandir (Jean Monbourquette) ISBN 9782895079408 Editions Bayard

  • guide for reflection and personal growth activities following an emotional loss
  • poetry and inspirational texts

“A Letter of Consolation” (Henri Nouwen) ISBN 0060663148

  • moving account of Henri Nouwen’s grief over the loss of his mother

Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caring (Henri Nouwen) ISBN 978-0-06-180026-9

  • a personal look at aging, loss, grief and fear

Helping Adults with Mental Retardation Grieve a Death Loss (Charlene Luchterhand and Nancy Murphy) ISBN-10:1560327685

  • In spite of its dated language the book offers much practical information for supporting people with disabilities who are grieving

“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