Cindy’s Story

Cindy has always been comfortable around death and supporting people when they are grieving.  She herself has personal experiences including the death of her parents. Although difficult, she was able to navigate her grief without any additional support. However, when her sister died from cancer, it was a very different experience.

“I focused supporting my sister in the illness, then in death – supporting her child, cleaning out her belongings – all the things you have to do.  When I finally took a moment to breathe, I fell apart.”

“No one grieves in the summer apparently.”
After her sister died, Cindy looked for supports and programs to help her in her grief. As a single parent, she knew she had to do something not only for herself but for her children as well – she had to keep going to provide for her children. She looked to the community for support, but because it was summer, she was unsuccessful finding any programming.

“No one grieves in the summer apparently.”

Cindy started to read books, but that used all her emotional energy. She then stumbled upon the Living with Loss program, which began running all year shortly thereafter, and started attending. This began her connection to Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region (BFO-MR)

Feel supported
After attending the group since around 2009, Cindy decided she wanted to give back and become a volunteer peer support facilitator. She enrolled in the facilitator training program, which she describes as “top notch”. She was appreciative of the detailed guidelines and tools provided to help facilitators in their roles supporting bereaved individuals.

“It’s comforting to know we have the support of BFO-MR staff in our roles.”

Diversity of people
Group brings together people at different points in their grief journeys. “There is a diversity of people that are hurting and in need of support. As you facilitate, you get to witness this yourself. It is very rewarding.”

At each Living with Loss group, there is a different topic that gives people a chance to share as they feel comfortable, or to simply listen.

“You are listening to how open they are in their search for help. They are learning from what they hear from each other, and that what has worked with others may work for you.”

The power of peer support
Cindy shares that she learns something every time she facilitates.

“This peer connection helps us to understand our grief, for both the facilitators and group members, regardless of where you are on your grief journey. Love and time does not ‘fix’ grief however kindness and understanding does help the journey.”

When you facilitate with BFO-MR, Cindy reminds us that “you continue to learn that it’s important to help yourself. You need to take care of yourself so that you can help others.”

After all, Cindy says, “we are all just walking each other home.”