Finding Hope in the Darkness of Grief

“Trent had the best smile, like he knew something that the rest of us didn’t know. He was an amazing man; the light of my life.” Says Lori Stevenson about her husband of 24 years. This is Lori’s story of finding healing and hope after the light of your life has gone out.

Trent was diagnosed with cancer in June 2020 and sadly died just over 2 months later. In the short time between Trent’s diagnosis and death, Lori was introduced to the programs offered by McNally House from the Psycho-Spiritual Clinician, Arthur of McNally House and the Niagara West Palliative Team. Receiving the call from Arthur and then a call from Bereavement Clinician, Jenn after Trent’s death were a welcomed hand through a difficult time.

The grief journey can be isolating, lonely, and all-consuming.  Asking for help can be difficult. Lori has found hope, understanding, and community through the programs and services at McNally House. “Nobody tells you it’s going be this hard until you are knee deep in it. I think as a society we don’t talk about it enough; we go into our grief blindsided.” says Lori.

Since Trent’s death, Lori has embraced her grief journey by joining a variety of bereavement programs to arm herself with the resilience needed to go on without Trent by her side.  Although not artistic, Lori has joined a number of the bereavement art programs. The art kits provided let Lori create different items to honour Trent’s memory and to mark special occasions. “I wouldn’t have thought to do any of that without the help of McNally and Shara (the Art Therapist).” says Lori.

Participating in groups at McNally House has helped Lori find her way through her grief and truly believes that others who are grieving can find the same support by reaching out to McNally House.  “Recently, someone mentioned making tortiere for Christmas in their loved one’s honour. In the fog of my grief, I forgot I used to enjoy making that around Christmas.” This is the essence of peer-to-peer support groups – helping others find themselves again.

It’s been over a year since Lori said goodbye to Trent, but she still participates in groups such as the Exploring Grief through Photography and the Griever’s Corner support group. These groups continue to help Lori find ways of adding “life to every moment” without the light of her life.