Learning to live with grief

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Every loss is different—as is every person who experiences loss. Sylvie Giasson knows this all too well. She lost her husband, Jacques Beaune, in October 2018.

“They say that the sense of loss softens with time. I don’t think that my sense of loss will lessen. Rather, I feel that by continuing to live my life, this grief will kind of ‘wrap’ around this void inside me, so that it becomes more tolerable. My love for him, however, will always remain intact.”

After spending four days at the hospital, and then one last week at home, Jacques was admitted to a palliative care residence, where he died two months later.

Learning to live without her husband has not been easy for Sylvie. All of those ‘first times’ were particularly difficult, she said. “Not only the first wedding anniversary without him, but also the first time I went out with another couple and there was an empty chair at the table.”

However, Sylvie has found ways to cope with her loss. After Jacques’ death, she sold their condo and moved on the waterfront of the Lièvre River, in l’Outaouais, a step that the couple had been preparing to take together.

“Nature, for me, is a source of spiritual healing,” explained Sylvie. “I love ‘playing outside,’ and since Jacques’ cousins live nearby, I have both the solitude and the support that I need. I don’t hesitate to ask for help from my loved ones, and that has saved me. Every day, to stay grounded, I try to love myself the way Jacques loved me,” she added.

“The way I see it, we are always together and we still love each other,” said Sylvie.

From her experience, Sylvie knows that grief is often longer and more complicated than we expect and there are limited grief resources to help. To help others, she shared her story on MonDeuil.ca, a free and confidential support to help people who are grieving.  Finding ways to remember and honour the person who has died is one way to work through grief. Learn more at MonDeuil.ca.

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November 19, 2019 marks National Bereavement Day. MonDeuil.ca was created as an initiative of Canadian Virtual Hospice to help people understand and move through their grief. MonDeuil.ca includes firsthand accounts and explores topics such as anticipatory loss, making sense of intense emotions, moving through grief, and more.