DVD offers aid in grieving process

By 
  • November 3, 2013

Grief comes in all sizes, all shapes. Sometimes it lingers. Sometimes it searches you out in the middle of the night. Sometimes it brushes you on the way out the door.

“Everyone experiences grief differently and everyone has a right to grieve in their own way,” said Amy Profenna, marketing and public relations manager for Catholic Cemeteries — Archdiocese of Toronto.

The people who bury Toronto’s Catholics have seen enough grieving families to know sometimes grief can be too big to face alone. The trouble is, not everyone knows there’s help.

The Catholic Cemeteries bereavement ministry is exploring new ways of reaching out to people in mourning, to direct them to whatever help they may need. Among the new methods is a 27-minute video called When a Loved One Dies: Finding Your Way Through Loss.

Rather than instructions, tips or lectures for grieving families, the video concentrates on sharing stories. Winnie Lo talks about the grief of losing her son Johnny. Calvin Clarke tells about losing his wife. Rita White tells the story of how her father died.

The DVD is no substitute for grief counselling, but it lets people know they’re not alone, that the cemetery is there to support them and that grief counsellors and bereavement ministries can also help those looking for more help.

“People can watch the video — watch these powerful stories about losing a child or a parent or a spouse — and relate to the people who share these experiences,” said Profenna. “It’s for people on an emotional healing journey.”

The Salt + Light TV-produced DVD is also a resource for people pre-planning their own funeral. The video gives people a clear idea of what families go through when they lose someone. It drives home the importance of having key decisions already in place, said Profenna.

“Of course you’re going to deal with the loss, the trauma of losing a loved one,” she said. “But that coupled with having to make 87 decisions can make it even that much more stressful.”

As Catholic Cemeteries moves toward opening its own funeral homes on cemetery grounds next year, the organization anticipates an increased demand for bereavement counselling and referrals. The video, free to any who ask for a copy, is one way of being ready.

“Any family that has been in contact with us would be offered a copy,” said Profenna.

Catholic Cemeteries premiered the video Good Friday this year. In less than six months it has already distributed close to 1,000 copies. Funeral directors and other Catholic cemetery organizations have also asked for copies. The first copy Profenna sent out was to a cemetery director in Guam.

To receive a copy e-mail Profenna at aprofenna@ccat.on.ca or call (416) 733-8544.

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