Real Help for Deep Hurt

Categories: Annual Review

One day she was married. The next day she was a widow, alone and grieving. Sandra thought she’d never cope through her nightmare or find ways to make the pain more bearable.

“My husband’s long downward spiral with cancer was the hardest thing I’ve ever watched unfold,” says Sandra.

After 50 years of marriage Sandra’s life changed in an instant. They were a team. Now, there was no longer someone to greet her when she came home. The chair opposite hers at the dinner table was empty. And although decisions were made, they were done with great difficulty.

Finding Ways to Cope

“I ached for someone to talk to—someone to listen,” says Sandra. With extended family geographically distant, Sandra was all alone. Feeling the need for emotional support, Sandra attended the local Salvation Army church in Newmarket, Ont.

“I hadn’t been to church since I was a little girl in Scotland,” says Sandra. “To my surprise, former neighbours were welcoming people at the door that day. Their embrace made me feel all warm and loved inside.”

It wasn’t long before a plea was issued for someone to tidy up the church garden and make it look more attractive. Sandra was eager to help. “It distracted me from my grief, kept me busy and made me feel worthwhile,” says Sandra.

Then Sandra heard about GriefShare, a support group for people mourning the loss of someone else. She was reaching out for ways to cope with her sorrow.


Facilitated by The Salvation Army and people who understand loss, GriefShare offers comfort and encouragement to people whose lives have been shattered.

In addition to videos and workbooks that help with recovery, small group interaction provides opportunity to share personal experiences and learn from others who understand bereavement.

“Healing isn’t a smooth upward journey,” says Sandra. “It’s full of ups and downs. At GriefShare we are like a little family. I find a lot of support in meeting with others who are facing the same loss and issues.

“I’ve built life-long bonds and friendships through GriefShare and The Salvation Army. Without them, I really don’t know where I’d be.”