Images from Grief and Loss 2021
“This was the most impacting and interesting circle to date,” said one student in CCS’s Grief and Loss intensive learning circle, April 28-May 5, 2021. Nine diaconal students gathered online (because, you know, pandemic) for a week to discuss spiritual care in the context of grief and loss. Students shared deeply of their own experiences with loss. (Some stories involved a death, but not all. Grief can also result from the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, a change in identity, the evaporation of a hoped-for future.) A student-led planning team facilitated a session on end of life issues, including MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying). Julie Baker was a special guest, helping students to think though funerals and how to preach a funeral sermon that brings comfort to a family’s and a community’s complicated grief. A virtual tour of the Bardal Funeral Centre and a conversation with funeral director Janice Dryden gave students a behind-the-scenes look at the practicalities of how bodies are cared for after death. Playwright Debbie Patterson read from her play “How It Ends”, a sometimes funny, often inspiring, always thought-provoking reflection on the end of life, based on verbatim interviews. Students drew on the biblical tradition of lament as a tool for expressing grief, wrestled with theological questions of eternal life, and explored pastoral approaches to support people in grief (including brainstorming a list of “things not to say.”
June Anderson was with the group for the week as chaplain. Thank you, June, for accompanying us, providing emotional support and ministry experience.