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Castlegar hospice offers support in wake of tragedies

In the wake of a month that has seen several unrelated but very tragic events in the West Kootenay, the Castlegar Hospice Society is offering its help.

The society will hold a grief support drop-in session on Wednesday from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Sandman Hotel.

“There’s been some tragedies in our community and it’s brought the need for grief support services to the forefront,” says executive director Suzanne Lehbauer.

“We deal with tragedies all the time. We really see the need to provide support to everyone, not only to those affected by the tragedies we’ve seen but everyone in our community.”

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In January, six local people lost their lives in three separate incidents. Two Nelson police officers died after an avalanche near Kaslo. A family of three was killed in a car accident at Thrums, including a newborn boy. Only a two-year-old girl survived. And a Castlegar man died of colon cancer, just a few days after his daughter became the Trail-Castlegar New Year’s baby.

“If you feel like you need a bit of support, you’re suffering grief, you want to get some information about how to talk to your children about death and grief, or you’re an employer and want to make things easier for employees if they’re coming back to work after a loss, whether your grief is current or in the past, come in and talk with us,” Lehbauer said.

Grief support workers will be on hand. Lehbaeur said you are welcome to just get information or to participate in the services they provide, which are available to all ages: they have provided support to people from five to 97.

The fallout from COVID has also been a recent source of grief, Lehbaeur said, as some people are struggling because they weren’t able to be with loved ones who died during the pandemic, and possibly weren’t able to hold funerals or celebrations of life either.

To learn more you can visit castlegarhospice.org or call 250-304-1266.

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