As someone deals with diagnosis, life-threatening illness and death, they grieve the many losses they face…past, present and future. In their grief, they will experience a wide range of thoughts, feelings and responses in the struggle to come to terms with this reality.
Due to the intensity of these reactions, people often feel frightened and overwhelmed and this is quite normal. It often helps to know what to expect and that these reactions are a necessary part of grief.
During this time, family and other caregivers will find that, they too, have a range of reactions and emotions. The many thoughts and feelings that arise may be intense and overwhelming and may recur with changes in the patient’s condition and care needs. Each member of the family will respond in their own way.
Patients and family members are often in different emotional states at different times increasing the stress for everyone. Families need to respect the patient’s way of coping and find ways to support him or her. It is important for family to know their own limits and to ask for help or support.
Community Services Social Workers
Idylwyld Health Centre
103 – 310 Idylwyld Drive North
Royal University Hospital
Main Social Work Office
Room 1619 Main Floor, A Wing
St. Paul’s Hospital
Main Social Work Office
Main Floor, B Wing
Saskatoon City Hospital
Main Social Work Office
Telephone: 306-655-829 or 306-655-8785
See the yellow pages of your local phone book.
As the journey of a family member or friend comes to an end, a new journey begins for those left behind. Palliative Care Services offers a number of programs and supports to help spouses and families cope with the grief and bereavement of loss.
Hospital Bereavement Follow-up
- Inter-denominational memorial services for relatives and friends of those who have passed away.
- Memorial gatherings are followed by coffee and conversation.
- St. Paul’s 306- 655-5000 ask operator to page Spiritual Care
- Royal University 306-655-1249
- Saskatoon City 306-655-8250
- Rural - Call your local hospital or health centre.
Grief and Loss Resources
Palliative Care Unit
St. Paul’s Hospital, Saskatoon
Bereavement Resource Library
W. A. Edwards Family Centre
333 - 4th Ave. N., Saskatoon
Compassionate Friends Library
306-374-8862 or 306-382-7599
Catholic Pastoral Centre
100 - 5th Avenue North, Saskatoon
Saskatoon Public Library
First Nations Support
Saskatoon Health Region Lead - First Nations and Métis Health - 306-655-0518
Saskatoon Indian & Métis Friendship Centre is located at 168 Wall Street, Saskatoon. To contact an elder for more information please call 306-244-0241
Rural Support Services
Mental Health Services:
Individual bereavement counselling for all ages:
- Humboldt: 306-682-5333
- Wadena/Wynyard: 306-338-9950
- Lanigan/Watrous: 306-365-3400
- Rosthern: 306-232-6001
- Wakaw: 306-233-4363
- See the yellow pages of your local phone book
Among Friends Grief Support
Humboldt, a facilitated support group for men and women with an educational component is offered once a week for six to eight weeks in the spring and fall. There is no cost to participate.
This group is sponsored by Palliative Care and Mental Health Services, Saskatoon Health Region. Other groups may be offered depending on community need and interest. For more information please call 306-682-1212.
Recommended Books about Grief and Loss
- Beyond Grief: A Guide For Recovering From the Death of a Loved One. (1987) – Carol Staudacher
- The Understanding Your Grief Journal: Exploring the Ten Essential Touchstones (2004) – Alan Wolfelt
- When Bad Things Happen To Good People. (2004) - Harold Kushner
- How Good Do We Have To Be? A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness. 1997) – Harold Kushner
- Living When A Loved One Has Died. (1997) – Earl A. Grollman
- I Can’t Stop Crying: It’s So Hard When Someone You Love Dies. (1992) – Rev. J. D. Martin & F. D. Ferris
- Unattended Sorrow: Recovering From Loss and Reviving the Heart. (2006) – Stephen Levine
- Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear and Despair (2004) – Miriam Greenspan
- Life After Loss: A Practical Guide To Renewing Your Life After a Major Loss (2004) – B. Deits.
- Healing Grief At Work: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Workplace Is Touched By Loss. (2005) - A.D. Wolfelt
- Lessons From The Dying. (1998) – Rodney Smith
- In Praise of Slow (2004) – Carl Honore
- Eat, Love, Pray (2007) – Elizabeth Gilbert
- The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments. (2001) – William Bridges
Death Of Spouse or Partner
- I’m Grieving As Fast As I Can: How Young Widows And Widowers Can Cope And Heal. (1994) - Linda Feinberg
- Widow To Widow: Thoughtful, Practical Ideas for Rebuilding Your Life. (2004) - Genevieve Davis Ginsburg
- The Mourning Handbook. (1995) - Helen Fitzgerald
- Healing A Spouse’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband Or Wife Dies. (2003)– A. D. Wolfelt
- Lesbian Widows: Invisible Grief. (2006) – Vicky Whipple
- Decomposing Maggie. (2003) – Ann Eriksson (Personal account from Saltspring Island author)
- It Must Have Been Moonglow: Reflections Of The First Years Of Widowhood. (2003) – P. Greene (Personal account from an older widow-56yrs married)
- In The Center Of The Night: Journey Through A Bereavement. (1987) – J. Blankenship (Personal account from a young widow with a young child)
- The Year Of Magical Thinking. (2007) – Joan Didion (Personal account)
- Anil’s Ghost. (2001) – Michael Ondaatje (Fiction)
Good Grief. (2007) – Lolly Winston (Fiction - humorous)
Death of A Parent
- When Parents Die. (1997) – Edward Myers
- Never The Same: Coming To Terms With The Death Of A Parent. (2004)- Donna Shuurman
- Nobody’s Child: How Older Women Say Good-Bye To Their Mothers. (2001) - Diane Lutovich
- Losing Your Parents, Finding Your Self: The Defining Turning Point Of Adult Life. (2000) - Victoria Secunda
- Midlife Orphan: Facing Life’s Challenges Now That Your Parents Are Gone. (1999) – Jane Brooks
- The Orphaned Adult: Understanding And Coping With Grief And Change After The Death Of Our Parents. (2000) - Alexander Levy
- She Loved Me, She Loved Me Not: Adult Parent Loss After A Conflicted Relationship. (2001) - L. J. Converse
- Fatherloss: How Sons of All Ages Come to Terms With the Deaths of Their Dads. (2001) - Neil Chethik
- The Closer We Are to Dying. (2001) - Joe Fioritto
- Motherless Daughters: The Legacy Of Loss. (2006) – Hope Edelman
- Letters From Motherless Daughters: Words Of Courage, Growth And Healing. (1996) – Hope Edelman
- Mother To Daughter, Daughter To Mother: A Daybook And Reader. – Tillie Olsen
- Crow Lake. (2002) – Mary Lawson (Fiction)
- Men’s Grief
- Men and Grief. (1991) – Carol Staudacher
- When A Man Faces Grief / A Man You Know Is Grieving. (1998) –T. Golden & J. Miller
Death Of A Grandchild
- Grandparents Cry Twice: Help For Bereaved Grandparents. (2000) - Mary Lou Reed
- When A Grandchild Dies: What To Do, What To Say, How To Cope. (1999) – Nadine Galinsky.
Death Of A Child
- Living on the Seabed: A Memoir of Love, Life and Survival. (2006). Lindsay Nicholson
- After The Death Of A Child: Living With Loss Through The Years. (1996) – A. K. Finkbeiner,
- When The Bough Breaks: Forever After The Death Of A Son Or Daughter. (1997) – Judith Bernstein
Beyond Tears: Living After Losing A Child. (2005) - Ellen Mitchell
- The Worst Loss: How Families Heal From The Death Of A Child. (2001) – Barbara Rosof
- A Broken Heart Still Beats: After Your Child Dies.(2000) – A. Mccracken & M. Semel
- About What Was Lost: Twenty Writers On Miscarriage, Healing And Hope. (2006) –Jessica Berger Gross (Pre/Perinatal Loss)
- Our Walk With Elephants: Surviving the Loss of Adult Children. (2003) – P. Boone & B. Headington
- Paula. (1999) – Isabel Allende (Memoir)
Death of a Sibling
- Surviving the Death of a Sibling. (2003) – T.J.Wray
- Letters to Sara: The Agony of Adult Sibling Loss. (2001) – Anne McCurry
- Recovering From the Loss of a Sibling. (2000) – Katherine Fair Donnelly
- No Time for Goodbyes: Coping with Sorrow, Anger and Injustice After a Tragic Death (2006) – Janice Harris Lord
- I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One. (2003) – Brook Noel & Pamela Blair
- Healing After The Suicide Of A Loved One. (1993) – Ann Smolin & John Guinan
- Stronger Than Death: When Suicide Touches Your Life. (1994) - Sue Chance
- Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide. (2000) - Kay Redfield Jamison
Holidays and Grief
- A Decembered Grief: Living With Loss While Others Are Celebrating. (1999) – H. I. Smith
- Healing Your Holiday Grief: 100 Practical Ideas for Blending Mourning and Celebration During the Holiday Season. (2005) – Alan Wolfelt
- The Dead Bird. (2008) – Margaret Wise Brown
- Swan Sky. (1983). – K. Tejima
- Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children. (1983). – B. Mellonie & R. Ingpen
- Liplap’s Wish. (1994). – J. London & S. Long
- Solomon’s Tree (2002). A. Spalding
- I Miss You: A First Look At Death. (2001) – Pat Thomas Badger’s
- Parting Gifts. (1997) – Susan Varley (Death of an animal friend).
- The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. (1987) – J. Viorst (Death of an animal friend).
- The Very Best Of Friends. (1990) – M. Wild & J. Vivas (Describes how families may be different after a death).
- When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide To Understanding Death. (1998) – Laurie Krasny Brown & Marc Brown.
- Old Pig (1999). - M. Wild (A granddaughter is with her grandmother as she is preparing to die).
- A Birthday Present For Daniel: A Child’s Story of Loss. (2001) – J. Rothman (A child’s sibling dies).
- The Empty Place. (1992) – R. Temes (A child’s sibling dies).
- Mick Harte Was Here. (1995) – B. Park (A girl’s 12 year old brother dies in a bicycle accident).
- Getting Near To Baby. (2002) – A. Couloumbis (A baby dies).
- Sad Isn’t Bad: A Good Grief Guidebook For Kids Dealing With Loss. (2006) – M. Mundy
- Someone I Love Died By Suicide: A Story For Child Survivors And Those Who Care For Them. (2000) – Doreen Cammarata
- The Education Of Little Tree. (1986) – F. Carter (Based on a true story about a boy who goes to live with his Grandparents after his Parents die. Eventually, Grandfather also dies).
- Common Threads Of Teenage Grief. (2005) – J. N. Tyson (Teens tell their stories of grief to teens).
- You Are Not Alone: Teens Talk About Life After The Loss Of A Parent. (2005) – Lynne Hughes
- The Healing Your Grieving Heart Journal for Teens. (2002) – Alan Wolfelt
Spiritual Care Support
Spirituality holds different meanings for different people. For some, spirituality is founded in religion and expressed through faith and prayer. Others find spirituality in life’s daily pleasures, the love of family and friends, nature, gardening, music and art. For some, spirituality is about giving meaning to the world around us, and expressing the significance of our connection to ourselves and to those around us.
For more information about spiritual care support visit Spiritual and Cultural Care.
Recommended Books on Spirituality and Dying
- Intimate Death: How the Dying Teach Us How To Live. De Hennezel, Marie. Knopf. New York. 1997.
- Mortally Wounded: Stories of Soul Pain, Death and Healing.Kearney, Michael. Simon & Schuster. New York, 1997.
- Final Gifts.Kelley, Patricia & Callanan, Maggie. Bantam Books. New York, 1993.
- Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide to Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying. Longaker, Christine. Doubleday. New York/Toronto, 1997.
- Care of Mind, Care of Spirit. May, Gerald. Harper. San Francisco, 1982.
- How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter. Nuland, Sherwin. Knopf. New York, 1994.
- Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal. Remen, Rachel. Riverhead/Putnam. New York, 1996.
- The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Rinpoche, Sogyal. Harper. New York, 1992.
- Letting Go: Morrie’s Reflections on Living While Dying. Schwartz, Morrie. Dell Publishing, Delta Books. New York, 1997.
- The Grace in Dying: How We Are Transformed Spiritually As We Die. Dowling Singh, Kathleen. Harper Collins. New York, 1998.
- The Courage to Grieve: Creative Living, Recovery and Growth Through Grief. Tatelbaum, Judy. Harper Collins. New York, 1984.