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Spring Newsletter - April 2021

Message From the Executive Director As we head into COVID year two, many of us are feeling frustrated amid the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It’s so widespread, they’ve coined it “COVID fatigue”. People are tired and fed up and now, as new variants threaten what progress has been made against a shape shifting virus we can't see but know has the ability to cut lives short and leave others chronically ill for the long haul, it’s disconcerting. The virus continues to threaten the health and livelihood of 8 billion people on the planet. That we have effective vaccines in just one year is an astonishing scientific achievement but vaccinating billions of people will take time and patience and effort. These days it feels like one step forward, two steps back. We’ve lived largely unscathed as far as pandemics go for most of our lives so we also understand the collective angst we're all feeling. We want our governments to “hurry up and fix it” but there is no quick fix. It will end - eventually. In the meantime, we must continue to be patient and follow public health measures. Hang in there. For those dealing with personal grief on top of all this uncertainty, know that their grief has been doubly exacerbated by the forced isolation which has all but eliminated the usual supports and rituals that help us get through difficult times. During COVID, we continue to offer Community Education through our Good Grief Workshops at no cost to the public. We want to teach people how to support others through grief and loss; what not to say, what helps, how small gestures can make a positive difference in the life of someone who is hurting. We encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity. There are just 6 sessions left between now and the end of June and you can still choose between attending an evening workshops or a lunch time one. Sign up soon before they end.

Ongoing Workshops, Programs & Services

Community Education Workshops (CEWs) If you want to know more about the complexities of grief and how to better support others through grief, this workshop will be perfect for you. At just 90 minutes in length, there is time for Q & A at the end. Choose from a Monday Lunch n' Learn from 12-1:30pm or a Thursday evening from 6-7:30pm. Just 6 dates left. To register, click here Learning Through Loss Group Program (LLGP) A couple of spots are still available for youth between the ages of 13-15 for the program beginning April 14, 2021. To refer a youth, fill out a referral form here and follow the submission instructions. Group sessions continue to be offered on a secure Zoom healthcare virtual platform until it’s safe to do otherwise. Short-Term Grief Counselling Short-term grief counselling is now regularly available to youth between the ages of 13-24 who meet eligibility criteria. There is no cost to youth who are accepted into counselling. To refer a youth, find our fillable counselling referral form here. Good Grief Workshops (GGWs) Good Grief Workshops are interactive 1-hour workshops given in the classroom to provide basic grief education to youth. These workshops are offered via ZOOM during COVID but we're hopeful we'll be back in person sometime in Fall 2021. To book a GGW for your classroom, send a request with your preferred dates and times to info@learningthroughloss.org Professional Development Supporting Youth in Grief Workshop (SYW) These detailed 3-4 hour workshops are tailored to working professionals, teachers, school counsellors, youth service providers and others who work with youth and want to learn how to better support them through grief. Booked by request, these workshops are currently offered virtually. For pricing and/or to schedule a workshop, email us at info@learningthroughloss.org Supporting Youth Through Grief Training (SYT) This 4-week, intensive 8 hrs of focused training is geared to those working directly with youth. The training often comprises both staff and community members with a maximum of 10 per group. Booked by request, these workshops are also offered virtually. To inquire about pricing, curriculum or to book training, email us at info@learningthroughloss.org

Keep Calm and Carry On

Ashley Gillies is one of our calm, experienced facilitators who offers this simple exercise to help calm the nervous system and get us to move through our feelings, including those where grief may arise. You can do this on your own or with another person next to you: Find a quiet spot for just 5 minutes. You can set a timer and/or light a candle to mark this important time for yourself. Just sit, and feel your breath for a few ins and outs. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel your body as it rests on what you're sitting on. Take a bit of time to sink into your breath and feel your body. Then, when you feel a bit settled, place a hand on your heart. Say 'hello' (you can even do this out loud). And then just notice how your heart feels. Acknowledge any feelings with curiosity and acceptance, like you might a young child. Allow any feelings that want to be known to be expressed. Continue to breathe, and feel your body on the floor or chair. When the time is up, thank your body for its wisdom and support How to Prevent an Anxiety Attack Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth

  • Slowly look around and find…

  • 5 things you can see

  • 4 things you can touch

  • 3 things you can hear

  • 2 things you can smell (or 2 smells you like)

  • 1 emotion you feel

This is called GROUNDING – it can help when you feel like you’ve gone too far in your head and you’ve lost all control of your surroundings.

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Registered Clinical Counsellor Friends of Living of Living and Learning Through Loss (LTL) is a 30-year-old registered Canadian charity providing grief, loss and bereavement support to youth on Vancou