Joan Hitchens, long-time Olympia resident and life coach, helps people move forward from grief.The short answer is “yes.” Yes, you should say something to those in your life who have experienced a death of someone close – even if it’s been months or longer since the loss and even if you don’t know what to say. Even if it is hard.Navigating Grief founder Joan Hitchens specializes in helping people who have experienced a loss of a loved one move through their grief into healing. However, she also has great advice to those who are on the outside – one step removed from the loss – on what to say and how to handle social situations when you encounter someone in your life who you know is grieving.Here are some guidelines to help you communicate your support in a positive way.Use the name of the person who has died when you talk. Don’t be afraid of saying their name.Acknowledge the great hole in that person’s life. You can say you are sorry for their loss, even if it’s been a long time since it happened. To some the “sorry” sentiment is received as trite. Sincere acknowledgement is the key.Listen. It’s ok to say, “I don’t know what to say.” Because we often don’t. Just show your love and listen. Listening is one of the most powerful ways of being with someone in loss.Don’t mistake the mask someone wears, appearing to have it all together, for a sign of full healing. The mask can just be a way to get through the day.Ask. Ask if your friend wants to talk. Sometimes having a normal conversation outside of the grief can be helpful.Feel. It’s ok to cry. Losing someone is hard. It’s ok to show the person you care for that you might also grieve as well as feel their loss, too.Remember the person who is gone in the best way you know how. Write a note, tell a story of remembrance, give a hug. Your acknowledgement of the loss shows your support. These are especially great to share during milestone dates: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. “I remember” validates life.Avoid “At least…..” This minimizes the loss and is a no-no! “At least… he’s in a better place, she’s not suffering, it happened suddenly, you had time during her illness” – none of these statements comfort and often leave the bereaved misunderstood for his or her pain.Show empathy rather than pity. If you have not experienced a similar type of loss, empathy can comes from focus and compassion for the living person you care about. If you have had a similar loss, empathy comes from a more knowing place with recognition that circumstances and relationships may vary.No comparisons! Another friend’s loss, divorce compared to spouse loss, distant cousin and child loss can seem like empathy, but often is received as lack of your “getting it” – the huge impact of change and grief that comes after the death of the person mourned.Death is a universal experience, but grief and loss is vey individual. (Read more on this topic here.) This is why what you say and not say can unknowingly carry a lot of weight. Very often it seems easier to say nothing and hope the person in grief will let you know. But the opposite if often true. The bereaved just want to know that you care and that the life of the loved one lives on through family and friends.To learn more about Joan Hitchens and finding your journey for Navigating Grief, click here. Facebook480Tweet0Pin9
The Selkirk Saints, and B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League voters know a good thing when they see one.So it comes as no surprise that for the second time this season Selkirk captain Jordan Wood has been selected BCIHL Player of the Week.Wood led all BCIHL scorers last week with four goals and seven points, and helped the Saints to wins over Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops and Simon Fraser University on home ice in Castlegar. Friday against TRU, Wood scored shorthanded late in the first period and assisted on three other goals, including Kam Crawford’s overtime winner, to lead Selkirk to a 5-4 overtime win against the WolfPack. The next night with the Saints and SFU tied at 2-2 late in the third period, Wood scored a natural hat trick in the final 6:43 of regulation to propel his team to a 5-2 victory.The 22-year old leads all BCIHL scorers with 19 goals and 37 points on the season and currently holds a six-point lead over SFU’s Ben Van Lare in his bid for the league scoring title. Honourable mentions for the weekly award included Shawn Mueller (University of Victoria), Nick Babich (University of Victoria) and Nick Sandor (Simon Fraser University). Wood and the Saints (16-1-0) currently hold a five-point lead over SFU (13-4-1) for top spot in the league standings. The team’s magic number to clinch their first-ever BCIHL regular season title currently sits at 7 points. Selkirk hosts the University of Victoria on Saturday night at the Castlegar Rec Complex. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Demonstrators gathered at the American Embassy to present their petition demanding the establishment of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia(Photo: Greg H. Stemn)Demand establishment of war and economic crimes court in LiberiaHundreds of Liberians under the banner “Campaigners and Victims For Justice,” yesterday, November 12, marched through the principal streets of Monrovia to present petitions to the American Embassy, European Union, United Nations and to the office of President George Weah, calling for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes’ Court in Liberia to seek justice for victims of the 14 years civil conflict (1989-2003).The protest march which created a traffic gridlock across Monrovia, was well attended by a mix of old people, youth, children, and even street hustlers including Zogos, who sang and danced as they trooped from their assembly point at the Centennial Pavilion to the United States Embassy and then to the European Union office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and finally to the United Nations headquarters on Tubman Boulevard, crying for justice for their loved ones and families victimized during the war.In a related development, a separate group of demonstrators had also besieged the entire Jallah Town route connecting the Capitol By-Pass demanding the restoration of electricity to the community, which the protesters claimed had been in darkness for over three weeks.Meanwhile the war crimes protesters continued singing and chanting “We are the victims we can’t get tired, the pro-poor government we want justice, Liberian people what you want….we want justice, your leave us oh da justice we want…”A concerned Liberian resident from Canada, Emmanuel Savice, who led the protest action declared, “We are serious about justice and accountability because no country will develop without ending the culture of impunity. If you ever think that God will come down and bless us, the two hundred and fifty thousand souls will continue to keep us down until we seek justice in this country.”Emmanuel SaviceWhen asked about the views of those Liberians that are calling for restorative justice, instead, Savice angrily said, “We want retributive justice for our people we lost their lives. You can’t tell me what I want. I lost my three brothers, one sister, my mother is still mourning for them. That is why I am pushing for international justice for every human being who his or her life.”Continuing, Savice said the current government campaigned on a platform for justice, “so they must stand up and listen to the cry of innocent Liberians who lost their parents and other relatives during the war and give them justice.”The protesters in their Petition said that crimes committed by the perpetrators violated international criminal laws, international human rights laws and international humanitarian laws and therefore they should not go unpunished.Savice said there are facts and evidence that tell the sad and ugly story of the country which is readily and conspicuously available in every nook and cranny of the country.“Heads of warring factions were involved in the massive killing of our people and the destruction of our country and they still walk freely in the midst of their victims that they violated, degraded, abused, vilified, raped and sexually enslaved during the heydays of their violence,” he said.Savice said, “These war criminals’ massacred and engaged in extra-judicial killings, and other unthinkable crimes against their victims and they still linger in the minds of Liberians, owing to the fact that justice is being delayed and denied.”He said the sorrow and agony of the Liberian people lie in the ugly fact that these very war criminals have been rewarded with state power in all its ramifications, thereby giving them political control over their victims against their will.“This kind of scenario continues to torment and psychologically affect the people of Liberia. It is no secret that the Liberian brutal civil war produced numerous massacres like the killings of the five Catholic Nuns, the Sinje Massacre, the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Massacre in Sinkor and others,” he said.The petitioners said only a War Crimes Court will bring justice to the families, relatives, and friends of victims who were gruesomely murdered and raped. Savice said seeking justice for these barbaric crimes is the only way to right the wrong, reconcile the country and its people and finally end the culture of impunity in Liberia.“It will be sad, regrettable and shameful for the world to let these atrocities go unpunished. It will be disappointing and a mistake for such heinous crimes to go unpunished. These appalling crimes must be investigated, and the required judicious measures taken to avoid replication in the future,” he said.Savice further maintained, “Also on record is the persistent greed and dishonesty of leaders of the country who also, with impunity continue to unduly amass wealth for themselves, thereby subjecting the entire citizenry to horrible poverty.” He said the constant wave of corruption which pervades the country keeps the people in a state of poverty and disease has denied them basic life incentives because people elected to power personalize the country’s wealth at their detriment.He said corruption in government must be wiped out to bring about the needed development in the country. “Corruption is eating up every part of Liberia, impoverishing 90% of the citizenry. It is eating up the entire country making development stagnant,“. Savice said corruption is the vice responsible for reducing many citizens to beggars on a daily basis and it must stop, he emphasized.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)