Workshop "A" descriptions

Adult participants will be asked to select one session from the Workshop "A" Time Slot during the registration process.

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Grieving, Year Two and BeyonD (A1)

Speakers: Laurie Rail & Jane Davey

Workshop Description:

Many grieving workshops focus on people’s acute grief period: what grievers are experiencing their first days, weeks and months following the death. This workshop focuses on the period after the first year, and well beyond. It provides more insight into what that timeline will give those people who are further into their grieving journey.

Question: When can an hour seem to last forever, and year feel like a moment?

Answer: When you are grieving the death of someone significant.

The first year immediately following a death is a surreal one, with time seeming to both standstill, and, fly by at the same time. In year one we experience all the “firsts”, and once we get through all of these (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.), we anticipate, and perhaps even look forward to, the second year of grieving becoming somewhat easier. Understanding that each person experiences grief uniquely, it is important to learn that grief beyond year one is normal, and, that the grief can change from year one, through year two and beyond.

This workshop will illustrate how the years following the first year of grieving will differ significantly. 

We will:

  • highlight the unexpected challenges brought on in year two and beyond;
  • discuss the concepts of a ‘new’ identity and finding ‘new’ meaning;
  • provide insight into the griever’s revised circumstances of life and relationships;
  • illustrate how to set boundaries and practise self-care;
  • discuss the concept of ‘closure’.

About the Speakers:

Laurie Rail is the past Executive Chair of Bereaved Families of Ontario-Ottawa. Following multiple losses, she facilitates numerous support groups, including the MAiD group. She has completed Death Doula training, is certified as a Crises & Trauma Specialist, and as a Grief Educator. 

Jane Davey is a Program Director at Bereaved Families of Ontario and contributor to the book ‘Always with me-Parents Talk about the Death of a Child”, 2018


Healing your Heart: Moving from Pain to Peace (A2)

Speaker: Anne DeButte

Workshop Description:

The aim of this workshop is to have participants view their grief differently, with less fear and resistance. It will help participants work with their grief daily by having the confidence and tools to help them cope and move towards healing and peace.

Focussed on those of you who are newly bereaved (less than 2 years), during this workshop, you will discover:

  • the importance of grieving;
  • how and why grief affects you;
  • how to work with your feelings, emotions, and thoughts.

Through mini-lectures, hands-on tools, and group discussions you will learn the action steps to take that will lessen your sorrow and bring you peace.

About Anne DeButte: 

Anne is a Grief Coach and Guide with a nursing background. She understands the chaos, confusion and emotional turmoil that death can bring. Based on her own healing journey and her studies about grief, she is passionate about helping others understand grief and not feel alone and lost as she once did. 


Healing from Grief – It is NOT a solo journey! (A3)

Speaker: Margaret Maier, CEO Naturally You

Workshop Description:

There is no doubt that the death of a loved one can be traumatic and this
trauma, if unresolved, can show up in our minds and bodies in different ways. Internal stress and even physical pain can become chronic if negative emotions are not addressed. In my case, the suicide of my son, Adam, set me on a downward spiral of depression, anxiety, bad habits and feeling hopeless. Shoving the emotions under the rug is not the way to deal with the death of a loved one.

This presentation offers a path out of the downward spiral. It shows you how to let the grief out from under the rug and resolve the underlying trauma.

In this workshop, you will learn about the resources available to you.  You
will learn a key mistake that I learned that may block you from moving through your grief. And you will discover a tool to help decrease the amount of stress associated with facing your grief.

About Margaret Maier:

Margaret Maier, better known as Canada’s Natural Healing & Detox Expert, has been combining science with holistic medicine for over two decades. She aims to empower people to heal and become more resilient after grief, loss, trauma and illness. 


Going with the Flow: Yoga for Grief (A4)

Speaker: Kathryn Zettel

Workshop Description:

Learning how to flow with the cycle of life, death and new life is both our greatest gift, and, challenge within our human experience. Accepting the impermanence of life, and living with the loss, compels us to learn how to be with grief.  Grief is more than an emotional response to loss; it has a purpose and it is a skill to be learned. Grief affects us physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually.

When grieving, the practice of yoga is an invitation for us to inhabit our body, to be present and experience the unity of mind, body and spirit. Yoga can serve to sustain and strengthen all aspects of our being and helps us experience a sense of wholeness at a time when wholeness feels farthest away.

This yogic wisdom has been around for centuries. Only recently, however, has research been developed to demonstrate the effectiveness and therapeutic benefits of yoga as well as its being an adjunct to counselling and therapy.

In this workshop we will:

  • explore the grief response, ways of being with grief and grieving as a skill;
  • discuss how yoga can be effective in supporting our grief process;
  • experience yogic breath practices, postures and meditations which build our capacity to inhabit and care for the self.

Note: Please wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat and/or cushion.

About Kathryn Zettel:

It is my core life-long passion to support people through grief. I am not a stranger to grief; I lost a good friend as a very young child. I believe when we lose people, it is one of the most painful, important and “sacred” times in our lives and holds the possibility for meaning of life. And yet, there are so few resources to support this significant time in our lives. I am a psychotherapist and yoga instructor and would love to have the opportunity to discuss how yoga can be a resource during times of grief.


A Death Doula’s Approach to Grief and Loss (A5)

Speakers: Christiane Zeithammel, Lisa Rhoades & Debbie Charbonneau

Workshop Description:

Our experienced Death Doulas will take you on a journey to gain knowledge and experience about alternative approaches to grief and loss. We will demonstrate the difference between grief and bereavement, define the various types of grief that can arise at the loss of a loved one and explain how Death Doulas can support the grieving process, both anticipatory grief, as well as post-death grief. We include pets in our practice as we deeply believe that in our society, pets are often as deeply grieved as our human companions.

Our desire is to see grief and bereavement support return to our families and communities. We’ll share our vision of how having a robust death doula presence in our communities can help make that happen.

There are several ways that we, as death doulas, support those who are bereaved. We’ll talk about Death Cafés, home funerals, legacy work, shamanic meditative techniques, and altar creation. We’ll share how each of these services offers unique support through the life of the grieving process. extent?

We will offer two different experiential components to demonstrate alternative possibilities to engage with grief. Participants will be invited to join us in creating an altar honouring their loved one(s), as well as the choice to participate in a Shamanic meditative process in which the participants can have a completion conversation with someone they have not had, or know they will not have, an opportunity to complete before their death. 

About the Speakers:

Our motivation in presenting at the Bereavement Conference is to reach out to those who are grieving and to create greater awareness and understanding about how Death Doulas can support them as they journey through a very sorrowful time.

Seeing first-hand the effects our support has had on those who are bereaved and feeling tremendous loss, highly motivates us to reach out to as many people as possible. Our desire is to have our voices heard loud and strong in every community so that no one in need of our services is left out. 

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