While many associate Victoria Hospice only with end-of-life care, the goal of the many different Hospice programs is actually to help people get the most out of life. Victoria Hospice reaches out to the community to offer bereavement support for family members, whether or not the deceased person used Hospice services. One such program is Touchstones, a safe and supportive environment for bereaved children aged 5-12 years to come together to share feelings, learn and have fun. Touchstones also offers a program for parents, to help their children through the grieving process.
Development officer, Pam Prewett, explains, “Death affects more than just one person. Programs like Touchstones allow Victoria Hospice to address not just the patient but the whole family, which is in line with our values of focusing on patient and family-centred care.”
It’s not hard to imagine how difficult it would be for a youngster to deal with the death of a parent, and for the surviving parent to not only deal with their own grief, but at the same time support their children. It is with relief that parents turn to Touchstones. Every Saturday, for eight weeks, a small group of children get together, under the supervision of Hospice counselor Allyson Whiteman, for a program of art, talking and stories as a way to work through their grief. The first thing the kids realize is that they are not alone ¬ there are other children who have also lost a parent.
One youngster who benefited from the program was Lena. Lena describes her dad as “nice, super funny and smart,” but he died suddenly two years ago when she was seven. Following his death, Lena’s mom Leyla noticed that Lena couldn’t cry, didn’t play with anyone and was always alone. Lena felt there was something wrong with her because she couldn’t grieve.
Leyla enrolled her daughter in Touchstones after learning about the program on the Victoria Hospice website. At the end of the eight weeks, Leyla had her daughter back. Lena was once again expressive and outgoing, and had friends. Lena says, “I liked how they didn’t just focus on death.
The best part was making crafts for my dad.” She goes on to say, “Touchstones is a great place and really helps you get over the troubles.
Some days I felt sad that I wasn’t at Touchstones.” That is quite a testimonial from a young person who knows what it is like to lose a parent.
Find out how you join with Victoria Hospice in helping people like Leyla and Lena. Call 250-519-1744, or visit the Victoria Hospice website for more information. Thank you!
Article Written By Marilyn McCrimmon