The Many Facets and Faces of Grief
Dana Bingley & Sean Gedney
Bereaved Families of Ontario- Halton/Peel
September 28, 2012
Overview:The Many Facets and Faces of Grief
Abstract: Our goal is to publish a handbook that includes personal accounts of love and loss as well as creative interpretations of individuals’ experiences with grief. The money from the Aviva Fund will enable BFO-H/P to create a tangible resource that can be provided to the bereaved to demonstrate the diversity of natural responses to the death of a loved one. The project will include Creative Expressions workshops that will not only provide the opportunity for clients to work on their submissions for the handbook, but will also present them with the space to creatively work through their grief. Money generated from the book sales will help to bring funds into the organization so we may sustain our programs and services.
Who We Are: Bereaved Families of Ontario – Halton/Peel is a non-profit organization that provides programs and services to those who have experienced the death of a loved one. Our programs operate on a peer support model – we are the bereaved helping the bereaved. We seek to provide supportive services to an otherwise ignored and marginalized population. We strive to normalize grief, foster hope and healing, and educate the public about the stigma attached to grief and bereavement. We provide programming and services to bereaved individuals residing in the communities of Halton and Peel, which includes: Oakville, Halton Hills (Georgetown and Acton), Mississauga, Milton, Brampton, Caledon and Campbellville.
The Project: We wish to create and publish a collection of memories, personal experiences with loss, and creative expressions of grief and bereavement. We envision the publication as a 50 to 60 page handbook including both text and full colour images. We hope to divide the book into three different sections, commencing with the personal narratives of individuals’ and couples’ struggle to cope with life without their loved one(s). The second portion of the book would include creative expressions of grief and bereavement, including visual artworks (drawing, painting, collage, photography, printmaking, sculpture, stills from performance pieces etc.) and creative writing. The final portion of the book will include an undisclosed section where individuals can anonymously submit their fears, their guilt and their secrets that they might harbour internally. A significant part of this project will be the implementation of Creative Expressions workshops in which our clients will have the opportunity to work on their submissions for the handbook. An art facilitator with grief and bereavement training will guide bereaved youth and adults through a variety of visual and creative art sessions, providing participants an array of art supplies and techniques.
How Will This Project Benefit the Bereaved Community of Halton/Peel?The Aviva funds will benefit the lives of the bereaved by providing them with creative and expressive workshops. Not only will the workshops provide our clients with the means and the space to work on their creative submissions, the expressive arts component will offer opportunities for the bereaved to confront loss and explore complex emotions through a variety of visual art projects in a comforting and understanding environment. In addition, these creative workshops will provide an emotional outlet to a diverse population varying in age, ability, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity. Despite the physical and cultural differences that may set our participants apart, they all possess a significant commonality – the death of a loved one. The expressive exploration of visual and creative arts has the potential to improve self-esteem, enhance self-awareness and promote healing. The publication will serve to empower the bereaved community through the validation of their experiences and offer a sense of normalcy to those who may feel forever lost. We hope the publication conveys that grief is not a universal experience – individuals react and cope with grief in different ways – yet there is a common language of loss that binds the bereaved. In addition, the handbook will also provide people with the opportunity to share their story and memorialize the deceased.
How Will This Project Benefit BFO-H/P?The money from the Aviva Fund will enable BFO-H/P to create a tangible resource that can be provided to the bereaved community. As a non-profit organization, BFO-H/P relies entirely on grants and generous in-kind donations to sustain our services. The resource will be sold for a minimal dollar value in order to generate funds that will go towards the sustainability of our extensive variety of programs and events.