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Grief & Loss - New West

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Kim Gramlich

on 15 March 2018

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Transcript of Grief & Loss - New West

Grief & Loss
New Westminster VAU

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Self Care Plans
Types of Death
Natural Causes/Age
Crime Related
Worden's Four Tasks of Mourning
Energy Management Model
Kim Gramlich, MA
Discuss the unique characteristics associated to each type of loss. How is grief different for survivors?
Task 1
Accepting the Reality of the Loss
Coming to terms with the end of the life.
Shock, disbelief, forgetting they are gone.
Accepting they are gone or severing ties with the past or committing to starting the journey to healing.
Task 2
Working Through the Pain & Grief
Intense emotions including...
An adaptive process, the only way to get through grief is to grieve.
Physical reactions can be common, exhaustion, sore muscles, loss of appetite.
Cognitive reactions are also very common, including...
What do we recommend at this stage?
Task 3
Adjusting to a new environment/reality.
Gradually begin to resume regular activities.
Can take some time, can require internal/external and spiritual adjustments.
Depending on daily presence in your life, impact can vary.
Task 4
Find Enduring Connections While Moving Forward
Keeping connection to deceased while moving forward.
Positive relocation of memories.
May involve new activities/people.
Worden - to not accomplish this is to not live.
Some Notes...
Not sequential.
Different people in different places.
Grief is not an illness, it is an experience.
Exercise - Mourner's Bill of Rights
What resonates for you?

How will you communicate these suggestions to your clients?
The Uniqueness of Unnatural Dying
Unnatural dying involves unique dimensions that make it different than natural dying.
- the dying is injurious and often mutilating.
- the dying is transgressive. Except for suicide, unnatural dying is forced upon the deceased who had no choice in preventing it.
- the dying is a human act of intention (with homicide/suicide) or some degree of negligence or fault with accident.
Complicated Grief
Often (but not necessarily) associated to unnatural deaths.
Something is getting in the way of coping with the death.
May involve unresolved issues with the deceased.
Concerning Factors:
Unrelenting Pain

Issues with the nature of the death.
Inability to regulate intense emotions
A world defined by absence.
Cultural & Religious Diversity
What were some of the religious or cultural practices in your family associated to the passing of a loved one?
1st Nations & Buddhist
Jewish & hindu
Islamic & Protestant
Catholic & Sikh
Compare similarities & differences between cultures religions.
Cultural & Religious Diveristy
Non-judgmental acceptance of all, practice caring curiosity when unfamiliar.
Just when you think you are familiar with a practice...you are not!
Who is the
Responsible for investigating all unnatural, sudden and unexpected deaths in BC.
Determine identity of deceased.
Fact-finding, not fault-finding.
Reporting on outcomes.
Decision rests with Coroner.
Sometimes no conclusive answers.
Toxicology results can take weeks.
Body Removal
At coroner's request deceased is taken to hospitals (or ??) for autopsy to follow.
When autopsy not required families are asked to arrange for a funeral service provider.
Crime Scene Clean-Up
Will do all biohazard clean-up.
Can be costly, suggest obtaining a quote.
Returning to Work
Slow return where necessary.
Alter role if needed.
Discourage big changes.
Cognitive challenges, low energy, increased risk for illness/injury.
Keep supervisor up to date, seek co-worker support, take breaks, accept help, decline extra work, be patient with self & others.
What to say?
Unhelpful comments?

Helpful forms of reassurance?
Helping the Bereaved
Those who appear fine may not be, ask.
Everyone grieves differently and for different lengths of time.
Accept & acknolwedge their feelings.
Sit in silence.
Let them talk about the bereaved, ask about the bereaved.
Offer comfort and reassurance but never minimize the loss.
Offer follow-up...and do what you promise.
Holding Space
"Walking alongside someone, in whatever journey they are on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them or impact the outcome.

When we 'hold space' for people we open our hearts, offer unconditional support and let go of judgement and control."
Heather Plett
Holding Space
Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom.
Give people only as much info as they can handle.
Don't take their power away.
Keep your ego out of it, their success is not dependent on your intervention.
Make them feel safe enough to fail.
Create a safe space for complex emotions and trauma.
Respect their differences and the choices they may make which differ from you or others.
Pain from grief is inevitable.
From pain comes growth. Lessons reveal themselves, meaning is often made and new pathways emerge.
Talk it out and work it out.
Exercise motion. Resume activity, find and engage in activities that motivate. Activate your dopamine!
What are your big takeaways?
Thank you!

Crimes that result in death..
Homicide - Manslaughter, 1st, 2nd
Criminal Negligence Causing Death
Impaired Driving Causing Death
Dangerous Driving Causing Death
Full transcript